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      Pastor accused of rape loses credentials

      Dale Richardson

      SUMMERVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) -- A South Carolina religious organization suspended the credentials of Dale Richardson, the former pastor of Freedom Will Baptist Church, in Ladson.

      Wednesday, the Dorchester County Sheriff's Office charged Richardson, 46, in two rape cases. This comes after Richardson was charged earlier this month in North Charleston for two kidnappings.

      Members of Freedom Will Baptist Church confirmed Wednesday he is no longer the pastor there, and his name was removed from the sign that sits near the church.

      In response to the charges against Richardson, the South Carolina Free Will Baptist State Association, Executive Committee released this statement:

      "Our leadership was shocked to learn of the allegations made against Dale Richardson. According to our statement of faith, we believe that the misconduct alleged against him is forbidden by God. At this time, the Eastern Conference Executive Committee and Ordaining Council have decided to suspend Rev. Richardson's credentials pending the final outcome of the investigation.

      We plan to cooperate with law enforcement authorities in their ongoing investigation. Our prayers are with all involved.

      As Free Will Baptists who are a part of the National Association of Free Will Baptists we believe that the highest authority is the local church; therefore, we are not denominationally connected in local church government and oversight.

      Our prayers are with the Freedom Free Will Baptist Church leadership as they make decisions and lead their church during this time."

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