Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Victory Outreach Church Expose Part 1

VICTORY OUTREACH CHURCH
LOCATED IN SANTA ROSA, CA



Our organization, Families Against Cult Teachings, Inc. (FACT), received complaints about the nondenominational Victory Outreach Christian Church located in Santa Rosa, CA. The church is a branch of theVictory Outreach International Church started by Sonny Arguinzoni in 1967 that has an estimated overall membership currently of about 30,000 congregants worldwide. Our expose focuses primarily on the church branch located at 4042 Sebastopol Rd, Santa Rosa, CA 95407, headed by Pastor Jose Guadarrama with the website address: www.vosr.org, but will include relevant information pertaining to the organization as a whole.

This report details our research, investigation and analysis of the complaints received in an effort to educate and potentially warn others about what we believe is a destructive cultic church (based upon the information wereceived and the numerous complaints published online).

Please note: Our intention at FACT is never to libel or damage anyone’s reputation. The purpose of our work is primarily to educate the public, but also for Victory Outreach leadership to understand the severity of the allegations against them. Moreover, please know that all statements made in this expose are according to our opinion at FACT based upon signed affidavits, complaints and evidence we received from alleged victims of Victory Outreach and witnesses, and through our analysis of this information according to the B.I.T.E. model (developed by cult expert Steven Hassan).

EXPLOITATION AND ABUSE CLAIMS

Concerned family members and friends of those involved with the rehabilitation home of Victory Outreach Church contacted our office with serious allegations against the church and head Pastor Jose Guadarrama. Shortly thereafter, an ex-member of the church’s rehab home also sent in an affidavit recounting his traumatic experiences (which led him to attempt suicide by ingesting 60 pills and require hospitalization). As per our understanding based upon the complaints, the court system in Santa Rosa, CA (and perhaps surrounding areas) are assigning people in need of substance abuse rehabilitation to Victory Outreach’s rehab home. According to the allegations, these highly vulnerable and susceptible individuals are being manipulated and exploited for labor for the benefit the church and leadership. Allegedly, church members work full-time hours seven days a week, including positions involving hard manual labor. Furthermore, the complaints state that those receiving rehabilitation all live at the church in subpar conditions and with members regularly being
deprived of sleep.

Fraud regarding donation solicitation with intent to deceive was also mentioned in the complaints, in addition to welfare fraud. Allegedly Pastor Guadarrama makes all individuals in his rehab program sign up for food stamps and general assistance, and then confiscates the stamps to use however he sees fit.

(Update: the Welfare Services Fraud Department of California investigated these claims and found them to be inconclusive.) To our knowledge according to the allegations, three rehabilitation church members have already received treatment at hospitals as a result of their experiences at this church, and family members worry that their loved ones have developed psychological issues such as negative changes in personality, warped sense of reality, depression and more, as stated below.

Those who filed complaints with our office had this to say about Victory Outreach Church in Santa Rosa,CA:

“Over the past year or so I have witnessed how pastor Jose use [church member name removed] in the [rehab] home with long work hours, and using extreme teachings with harmful activities and destructive techniques of brainwashing, coercive, persuasion, manipulation to break down [name removed] sense of self, making him very vulnerable.”

"I witnessed how pastor Jose controls [name removed] every minute of his waking time. [Member] is not free to work, think, or analyze, he is told what to do, where to go, whom, when, how, what, etc. Pastor Jose has totally taken away his freedom and all forms of decision making…I noticed [his] personality is changing for the worst. Pastor Jose makes him do and say things he doesn’t want say for his own benefit. I asked Pastor Jose what he was trying to do with [name removed], that he was destroying his life, and producing intense confusion, loss of perspective and a distorted sense of reality.”

“He [church member] works long hours with no pay. He is always tired. He has no privacy, no time to reflect, he is deprived of food and sleep. I have noticed personality changes for the worst. He has become distant from family and friends. He is flat; He lost all interest in all his goals. He has no voice. At times he looks scared, frighten, and confused. I just don’t understand these extreme personality changes.”

“Victory Outreach rehab is a fraud. The men in this rehab are being exploited, controlled, and deprived of food and sleep. And when they do have food, it is not adequate nutrition.”

“All they [church members] do has to be approved by Pastor Jose… They are not allowed to speak to anybody outside the church. This Victory Outreach is not a church; it is a place where they are exploiting/controlling these men, in order to make money for the company. They deprive them from food, sleep, and also control every aspect of there lives.”

“All the men get paid by the hour. Each gets paid for the work they do. All the money earn goes to Pastor Jose at Victory Outreach. I witnessed how hard these men work, and the lunches they bring to work was not enough for all the hard work they do. All the men that come to work from Victory Outreach go to work without eating. And the lunch they bring to work is a sandwich made by just bread and mayonnaise, that’s it. And sometimes just bread, mayonnaise, and mustard. Or bread with mayonnaise and cheese, with water, and that’s it. The lunch they bring to work is terrible, and not enough for all the hard work they do.”

"I have witnessed pastor Jose Guadarrama, time after time lying, manipulating, and controlling [member] at everything he does. Pastor Jose moves in and takes control for his own advantage.”

“I started Googling controlling pastors and it showed cults, spiritual abusing churches. And what I was reading shocked me. I thought to myself this is exactly what is going on with this church…”
Perhaps the most telling of all the complaints that we received was this statement submitted by ex-church member Diego Venegaz, who lived in the church’s rehab home for over 8 months:

“I went to Victory Outreach rehab on June 10, 2016. I went there because I needed help with my addictions. The first thing pastor Jose made me do is to go apply for General assistance and food stamps. I was getting $400 on EBT card which means money on a card from general assistance, but I was not allowed to use the EBT card, Pastor Jose took the ebt card away, and said it was for rent. And we were not allowed to use the food stamps. Jose took the food stamps away. We were only allowed to eat food that was donated, and the food most of the time was expired. We didn’t get nutritious, healthy food. Pastor Jose controls the food we are told when to eat, what to eat, they force me to fast 21-30 days when I was on discipline, can only eat vegetables. We never had fresh vegetables, only can vegetables from donation food. No breakfast! We get a lot of donuts through donations. We eat a lot of donuts. We are treated like slaves always working everyday Monday through Sunday. No days off. We get up at 5:00 am. When I was on discipline I got up at 2-3am to wash all the cars from the church, then at 5:00 am go to work. We worked long hours with very little food. My lunch to work was 2 pieces of bread with peanut butter and water. One of the jobs we went to for was Encore Events. We unloaded trucks,tables, chairs, etc. Greg from Encore events talked to Pastor Jose and told him that encore events was paying him $15,000.00 a month for 10 guys. A lot of money for Pastor Jose to send the guys to work with a crappy lunch. I was tired all the time. We had no privacy, too much noise, too much activities, to much work, to much worship, praying, reading for hours and hours. Too many chores, no time to rest, our minds were overloaded.

You can not be by yourself at anytime, always in two’s, that’s called accountability. We are always tired, lack of sleep, not enough nutritious meals, with a lot of work, with no rest. And you have no choice you are forced to do it; they really treat you like a slave. You are forced to be silent. We are not allowed to talk, they silent you. They intimidate you, harass you, and scare you, until you submit.
I think Pastor Jose never like me, because I was not submissive, loyal or wealthy. I always said I didn’t like it there. I was not allowed to say that. You were only allowed to say good things about the church. If you talked about the church business you would get in trouble. I was always in trouble, on discipline for talking. I faced public humiliation, harassment, intimidation, and they made fun of me, everybody was against everybody. They make up lies to fight each other. I was bullied; they made me feel worthless, like I was nothing. If you are not submissive, loyal, you get disciplined. They take away your visits and phone calls. You are not allowed to talk to your family. They create a lot of drama and conflict against each other. They create animosity, gossip, lies, and bully people around. I got bullied because of my heavy accent. According to them I’m not worthy and loyal. In my opinion, Victory Outreach church is a living hell, and Pastor Jose is the devil.

Pastor Jose has no compassion. He is not considerate of others. When somebody goes to the hospital, Pastor Jose never visits. He treats everyone like a slave. Pastor Jose thinks he is better than everyone else. He is arrogant, conceited, and thinks the whole world is about him. Pastor Jose made us wash his black Lexus two times a day, everyday in the hot sun. He would make guys wash his rims. The last time I washed his black Lexus car; he came and said to us there is a spot. Nobody saw a spot. The car was clean, it gets washed twice a day, so I got mad and said why don’t you clean it. He said to me, “Come to my office, Pastor Jose said why do you talk to me like that. And I was discipline for three weeks for saying that. When it comes to chasing your goals and dreams Pastor Jose discourages you by telling you that it is selfish. That God has better things for you, so that you stay at church. They make fun of your goals. Your goals are harassed. They break your goals and dreams. They kill your motivation leaving you with no motivation. I always had the feeling of helplessness, trapped, with no way out. This is how I felt being at Victory Outreach. On March 7 2017 the day I was feeling very depressed, because I felt trapped, helpless? I didn’t want to be at Victory Outreach, but I didn’t know what to do. I felt helpless, trapped, with no way-out. I was going through some personal stuff. I was bullied by everyone, they made me feel worthless. I swallowed 60 pills with the intent
to harm my self as a result I was sent to the hospital. The name of the Hospital is Ukiah Valley Medical Center. 275 Hospital Drive, Ukiah, CA. 95482 Then I was sent to the mental facility. I was there for eleven days. The name of the mental facility is Restpadd, 2750 Eureka Way Redding, CA 96001. Currently I’m living on my own, out of Victory Outreach. And I have never felt better in my life. I feel free, I’mtrying to find a job, and I’m trying to adjust to the real world.”

We will continue our Expose on Victory Outreach tomorrow and the rest of the week. If you have any experience or know someone who does with Victory Outreach, feel free to comment, send in your story to us https://www.familiesagainstcultteachings.org/cult-help/contact.html and share this Expose with others.

Sincerely,

The FACT Team
Families Against Cult Teachings and Abuses 

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