Judge Says Pastor Dickerson Will Stand Trial

KFSN By Sontaya Rose, KFSN-TV, Fresno – March 27, 2007

A well known southwest Fresno pastor will face a trial for charges of child molestation and rape. Pastor Charles Dickerson leads the Pearly Grove Baptist Church. A judge decided there is enough evidence to try him on several counts.

Charles Dickerson was disappointed, but according to his attorney, is looking forward to trial so he can get more of "his version" of things out. Many of the accusations are so graphic, they are inappropriate for television.

Charles Dickerson sat quietly, at times closing his eyes, as he listened to testimony from two teenage accusers. Action News is protecting their identity because of the nature of the crimes.

The girls both testified in graphic detail how Dickerson made sexual advances on numerous occasions. The teenagers told Judge Bruce Smith the abuse often began with Dickerson asking for a hug and that ended up to be much more.

Dickerson's attorney says the stories the girls told the court are untrue. Defense Attorney Glenn LoStracco says, "It just appears to be made up as it goes along."

The oldest teenage accuser told the court the acts took place in Dickerson's bedroom and started with touching and ended in rape.

Outside court, Dickerson's attorney said the accuser's were not strong witnesses. He says, "I have never seen such vague, generalities made in testimony and lack of memory of specific details. I'm sorry in human experience when something happens to you that is real, you remember it. You remember the details of it."

The accusers said the abuse began when they were as young as 8 years old and continued for close to 8 years.

Dickerson has denied the charges all along; he continues to lead a congregation of 500 members and says he has no plans to stop preaching despite the serious charges and upcoming trial.

Judge Smith did throw out some of the charges for now, because the witnesses could not be more specific. But the majority of the charges will stand.

Trial has been set for mid April.

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