Using Child Victims Act, Abigail Barker Files Sex Abuse Suit Against Figures From Victorious Life


August 6, 2020

By Dave Lucas

An Albany woman has filed a sexual abuse suit against a Troy church.

Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Child Victims Act into law in 2019. It opened a one-year window for abuse victims to bring claims. That window for victims to file lawsuits was extended to August 2021 owing to the pandemic.

Cuomo’s Deputy Press Secretary Abigail Barker says she is one such victim. Barker says in 1998 she was sexually abused by a Sunday school teacher and deacon, Mark Rhodes of Wynantskill, at Victorious Life Christian Church in Troy.

“I was 5 years old. Mark would often babysit me and my younger brother, and it happened on those, occurred on one of those occasions. After I had been abused, he never babysat for us again.”

Barker’s lawsuit includes claims of negligence and cover-up against the church as well as its Pastor and Presiding Elder Dominick Brignola, who is also a local attorney.

“The trauma of the abuse and the scars that it leaves, you know, it goes throughout your entire life, and 22 years later I’m still dealing with the ramifications of that one time, 22 years ago. And it irrevocably changes your life in ways that you don’t expect.”

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