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USA News

New York church faces several lawsuits over abusive conduct from father-and-son pastoral team

by Premier Journalist

Victory Church, a small campus in Rochester, New York, faces three simultaneous lawsuits from former members regarding abusive behavior by its former pastoral team.

In June 2020, Joseph Burress Sr., a 71-year former senior pastor of Victory Church, pleaded guilty to second-degree abuse. Burress Sr. had sexually abused two girls under the age of 14, and will be sentenced in September. His son, Paul Burress, heard additional accusations when he was also accused of similar conduct in 2018. Burress plead guilty in court, and was sentenced to one year on probation with sex offender conditions.

However, the two men are now facing additional charges due to their conduct in the past. Ministry Watch reports that three women have come forward claiming they were victims of the two pastors' alleged immoral conduct. They have filed a lawsuit against Victory Church's former leadership, alleging that the staff had a habit of filling their church roles with known abusers, thus putting any attending children in great danger.

One of the plaintiffs stated that she eventually married her abuser after they impregnated her at the age of 19. 

Victory Church had previously developed some fame after a documentary, titled Fight Church, was released in 2014. The documentary featured several churches, including Victory, who decided to invest into fight clubs as a form of local ministry. The film was released to minimal attention.

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