FT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) – A Ft. Lauderdale jury found a former youth pastor accused of molesting children not guilty on all counts.
When the jury resumed its deliberations Thursday morning in the trial of Jeffrey London, jurors had a question for the judge concerning the definition of “reasonable doubt.” The judge told the jury to go back and read up on the definition.
Just after 2 p.m. a decision was reached and London was acquitted of 27 counts of abuse.
“I’m very relieved cause I know my son didn’t do the things they said,” said Clara London.
Prosecutors claim London, 50, sexually assaulted four boys who are now adults.
“My clients were absolutely floored, devastated, and specifically, in total disbelief and shock that there could ever be a verdict other than guilty on all counts,” said Brad Edwards. He’s the attorney for three of the four accusers.
Despite gripping testimony from four men, who all said London molested them as children, the jury wasn’t convinced.
“The evidence in this case was so overwhelming and strong against Jeffrey London,” said Edwards.
London testified denying anything ever happened.
“I think it came down to no physical evidence,” said Defense Attorney Lourdes Gonzalez.
The victory is bittersweet because London is not going home. He is going back to jail to await trial again. Four other men have accused him of doing the same thing.
Jeffrey London’s mother, Clara, had this message for the accusers.
“We love them,” said Clara London. “I have nothing against those kids. We will always love them.”
On Tuesday, London took the stand and said he had been falsely accused. London said the young men who brought the charges were upset at being evicted from the home he provided for them.
The four men who claimed they were abused by London gave emotional testimony last week. They described to the jury how they endured years of sexual abuse.
Questioned repeatedly by his attorney as to whether he has abused anyone, London firmly answered ‘no’ each time.
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 asked the troubled youth to follow rules in his home which included a curfew, attending school and not smoking. London testified that the young men who brought 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.
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.
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 London could have faced life in prison.