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Pastor at women’s prison charged with sexually abusing inmate

Updated June 2, 2022 - 6:51 pm

A pastor at a women’s prison in Las Vegas has been charged with sexually abusing an inmate, according to police and court records.

Donald Burse, 55, was booked at the Clark County Detention Center on May 24. Court records show the Nevada attorney general’s office has filed two felony counts against Burse of sexual abuse of prisoner by employee and one felony count of unauthorized custodial conduct by employee.

The pastor’s defense attorney, Sean Sullivan, said Thursday the accusations against Burse are not credible.

“He is a longtime respected member of the community who grew up in Las Vegas and graduated from high school here,” Sullivan said. “I don’t believe these allegations have any merit. I ask everyone to keep an open mind until the evidence comes out.”

A declaration of probable cause for arrest in the case was filed May 18 in Las Vegas Justice Court by an investigator with the Nevada Department of Corrections’ Office of the Inspector General. The investigator wrote in the heavily redacted report that Burse is an employee at the Florence McClure Women’s Correctional Center and that contact with an inmate started in June or July of 2020.

“Mr. Burse would come to her housing location to religiously council her and other inmates,” the investigator wrote.

The inmate told the investigator that Burse eventually started to flirt with her and that they discussed him “furnishing her with small bottles of alcohol or other contraband.”

“Sometime in August of 2020 Mr. Burse called her to his office which is located inside the Chapel with the excuse to provide her with a Bible,” the investigator wrote.

The woman told the investigator that Burse ended up touching her in a sexual manner.

“Mr. Burse then unzipped his pants which indicated to her that he wanted her to perform (a sex act) on him, but she refused,” the investigator wrote.

The woman told authorities that Burse eventually performed a sex act on her on Burse’s desk. The inmate alleged that later, they discussed what was necessary before they engaged in future sexual encounters.

“The agreement included Mr. Burse bringing her spice, alcohol and makeup if she agreed to perform (a sex act) on him or allow him to perform (a sex act) on her,” the investigator wrote.

The inmate later refused to meet with Burse as she “felt that Mr. Burse was not upholding his part of the agreement,” the investigator wrote.

Burse denied the accusations when interviewed by authorities. The department, meanwhile, issued a statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal regarding Burse’s arrest.

“The Nevada Department of Corrections is aware of the recent summons of Chaplain Donald Burse,” the statement said. “The Department takes seriously any allegations of this nature. Any alleged criminal behavior will be investigated and prosecuted thoroughly. Due to pending litigation, the Department will not release further details at this time.”

Burse is out of custody. His next court date is scheduled for Aug. 1.

Contact Glenn Puit by email at gpuit@reviewjournal.com. Follow @GlennatRJ on Twitter.

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