Explicit allegations revealed against former Henrietta pastor
HENRIETTA, N.Y. (WHAM) -- There are new allegations coming to light about a former local pastor charged with forcible touching.
13WHAM has decided not to reveal the alleged victim's identity, but the 18-year old woman says she was only a member of Victory Church in Henrietta for a few months. She says she loved it.
After a rough period of her relationship with her boyfriend, she decided to move in with Paul Burress, the former pastor at Victory Church. She says Burress lived with his wife and children at the time.
"I really found my place in Victory," the woman said. "I felt it was a family, it was a community."
She says her feelings changed just a few days before her 18th birthday.
"He began to tell me of the sexual behaviors between him and his wife," she said. "In explicit detail. How he didn't feel loved or appreciated. A week after I turned 18, he had just gotten a hot tub and asked if we could go for a swim. His daughter came out, then all of sudden she had homework to do. So , then he goes, [she] needs to go back inside and do [her] homework."
She claims Burress got closer.
"He then starts to put his hands over on to my thighs and begins to touch me," the woman said. "I was instilled with fear and absolute shock."
The woman said a rush of thoughts flew through her mind about what to do.
"I just sat there quietly and it made me think, 'What do I do?," she said. "'Do I scream, do I yell, do I get up? Do I say something? Do I not do anything?' I started to process it and I thought, 'I have nowhere to go. I have no family. I have no vehicle. I have nobody.'"
"The entire congregation depends on him, so they are not going to believe me," the woman added.
After a few more seconds, the woman said she could no longer stand it.
"I lost it," she said "I got up and I just shriveled out of the hot tub and upstairs and we didn’t say a word about it."
She added that the next morning, Burress apologized and promised that it would not happen again. As the woman talked about it during her interview Wednesday night, she added that she felt guilty about what had happened to her.
"I felt like I had did something wrong and at the time, I didn’t realize I had been abused," the woman said.
A short time later, the woman said the Burress family was slated to go on vacation, but without Paul.
"He asked if he could stay with me for the week while his family was gone," she said. "And I thought that that was inappropriate and it scared me."
Shortly before the vacation, the woman moved out of the home to avoid staying alone with Burress while his family was out of town.
The Monroe County Sheriff's office tells 13WHAM that at least one other woman came forward to report Burress on Tuesday night. Burress is scheduled to appear in Henrietta Town Court on September 19 at 5:00 p.m.
"It took us uniting together to have the common core strength and courage to put an end to this," she said.
Burress faces at least two forcible touching charges, which is a misdemeanor.
13WHAM reached out to Burress at his home Wednesday evening. No one was available for comment. The Sheriff's office says investigators are fielding calls and asking people to come forward with information.