FT. LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) — The jury has finished deliberating for the day in the case of a former youth pastor accused of sexually abusing four young boys.
Deliberations began Wednesday afternoon after closing arguments wrapped up and will continue Thursday at 9:30 am.
On Tuesday, the accused pastor, Jeffrey London, 50, took the stand and said he’s been falsely accused. London said the young men who brought the charges, were upset at being evicted from the home he provided for them.
London faces 27 counts of child abuse.
Prosecutors said he molested the boys who are now young men. The four were ‘at risk’ children whom prosecutors said viewed London as a ‘father figure.’
The four gave emotional testimony last week describing being rescued from the streets only to face years of sexual abuse but London denies anything happened.
Questioned repeatedly by his attorney on whether he has abused anyone, London firmly answered ‘no’ each time.
After finishing high school, London told the jury that the first child he helped was a 13-year-old.
“I didn’t look for these kids, they came to me,” said London.
London spoke directly to the jury.
When asked about an incident his ex-wife described when she found London in bed with a 16-year old boy, London said plainly, “It never happened.”
He said he was asking the troubled youth to follow rules in his home which included a curfew, attending school and not smoking.
He said the young men bringing the charges got to the point where they didn’t want to follow the rules, so he asked them to leave.
After London’s testimony, defense rested.
His attorney began her case on Monday presenting witnesses who countered prosecution’s testimony.
The first witness who took the stand worked at the church and said it was impossible for the sexual abuse to happen. The witness argued the alleged victim’s time frames don’t make sense because there would have been no time to commit the sexual abuse.
The second witness lived in London’s home along with dozens of underage boys. The witness stated that none of the other boys talked about the alleged sexual abuse or told him about it. The witness said that London helped him out with school education and encouraged the boys to better themselves.
They called cellular forensics expert Konstantinos Dimitrelos as their final witness. He was hired to analyze London’s phone records.Prosecutors were trying to show that London sent provocative text messages to the alleged victims.
On April 2nd, Clive Lowe who used to live with London took the stand. 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 after Lowe. 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.
London’s former wife, Aretha Wimberly, also testified refering to the that while they were married, she came home to find London in bed with a 16-year old.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.
The rest of London’s accusers also took 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.”
If convicted of the most serious charges, London could face life in prison.