More Testimony In Sex Abuse Trial Of Former Youth Pastor
South Florida Crime
FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – More testimony Wednesday in the trial of a former youth pastor accused of sexually assaulting young children.
Jeffrey London is charged with 27 counts of child abuse.
On Wednesday the first person to take the stand was Clive Lowe who used to live with London. Lowe, who worked for Metro PCS, told the jury that London questioned him about how long they kept text message records.
Jonna Jones took the stand next. She attended the charter school where London was dean. She told the jury about the time she was with a fellow student who received a phone call from London and put it on speaker phone. Jones said London told the student to keep it between them what had happened. The student was one of London’s alleged victims.
“He basically said keep it between you and I. Everyone knows what’s going on” said Jones.
London’s former wife, Aretha Wimberly, also testified saying that while they were married she came home to find London in bed with a 16-year old.
“I don’t know any 16-year old under the covers watching cartoons with their dad” said Wimberly.
She said London and the teenager insisted nothing happened. Wimberly said in her opinion London was a father figure to the numerous boys he took in who would otherwise be on the streets.
Prosecutors said they have one more witness who will testify about alleged text messages that London sent on Thursday and then rest. London’s defense is scheduled to start on Monday, London himself is expected to take the stand.
So far in the trial, four of his accusers, who are now adults, have taken to the stand. Each described how the abuse started when they were young and how London kept them quiet.
“What would he offer you in exchange for sexual abuse,” the prosecutor asked one of the men.
“Chunkies, money, sometimes entertainment, games, clothes,” he replied.
“How much money are we talking about?”
“The most like $300 to $400.”
One of the accusers testified Tuesday that he was sexually abused from the ages of 11 to 18.
That prosecution witness is now 25 and says he met London at the age of seven while attending a program at the Boys and Girls Club of Ft. Lauderdale where London was a counselor.
He said his grandmother trusted London and allowed him to move in with the pastor because she thought he would be safe with him.
The man sobbed as he described the abuse he endured and felt powerless to make it stop.
“I had nobody. I had no support system. My mom and dad were not there.”
He also spoke of alleged physical abuse saying once at the church where London was a youth minister, London choked him in front of the whole church.
A second man testified that he moved in with London when he was 14-years-old.
“I was looking for a male figure.” He also described repeated abuse that happened at London’s home and on the road.
Prosecutors say London who was also a dean of students at a charter school had dozens of underage boys live in his home. He reportedly controlled what they ate, who they saw and demanded that they keep their bedroom doors unlocked.
Another man who is now 28-years-old testified that he was distantly related to London and also lived at his home on and off. Even when London was diagnosed with a form of stomach cancer he told the jury that London continued to abuse him, though not as often.
The accuser told the jury he never reported the abuse because he had fear in his heart.
“Nobody would believe a child. They would say I was making up stories.”
Several members of London’s family packed the courtroom. They say the accusers are lying and maintain London is innocent.
London has denied the abuse charges and said he is innocent, adding that his accusers are after money from a civil suit that’s been brought against him. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.