Sex Abuse Trial Continues for Former Youth Pastor - NBC 6 South Florida

Sex Abuse Trial Continues for Former Youth Pastor

Jeffery London is charged with abusing young boys that he would take in to live with him.



    The sex abuse trial of former youth pastor Jeffery London continured Wednesday. NBC 6's Ari Odzer reports. (Published Wednesday, April 2, 2014)

    After hearing powerful testimony from Jeffery London's alleged victims on Tuesday, the jury received another glimpse into his life Wednesday afternoon, this time from the perspective of his ex-wife.

    "Essentially, the only rule of the house was, don't piss Jeff off," Aretha Wimberly said on the witness stand.

    Wimberly was married to London for just three years, but it was long enough to paint a creepy picture of the man accused of sexually abusing teenage boys who were living in his house.

    "I can't say I ever saw him touch anyone sexually," Wimberly admitted.

    Man Faces Alleged Sex Abuse Victims in Court

    [MI] Former Youth Pastor Faces Alleged Sex Abuse Victims in Court
    The sex abuse trial of former youth pastor Jeffery London began this week. NBC 6's Gilma Avalos reports.
    (Published Wednesday, April 2, 2014)

    But she told a chilling story of once coming home when her husband expected her to be out, and finding their bedroom door locked.

    "I just got the key off the ledge and opened the door and and he was in the bed under the covers with [a victim], and I questioned what they were they doing, why was he in bed because at the time I believe [the victim] was 16," Wimberly explained. "I don't know any 16-year-old boys who get into the bed under the covers to watch cartoons with their dad. It didn't sit well with me. I was very uncomfortable with it."

    Wimberly said her husband immediately denied anything improper was happening. She said she tried to talk to the boy involved in that incident, a boy who has since testified against London in court, but at the time he covered up for London.

    "He insisted, even though I went back to him two or three times because I just couldn't shake it, but no matter what [the victim] insisted that nothing happened," Wimberly said.

    Their marriage, Wimberly said, was almost never normal because London ignored her and devoted all his time to the indigent boys he took in.

    "He pretty much made sure no one else had any influence on them. He was very much opposed to adults coming to the house," said Wimberly, explaining that London obsessively made sure the boys he took into the house were happy, showering them with shopping trips, outings to the movies, video games, while at the same time, never requiring them to do homework or chores or in some cases, even go to school.

    Wimberly also said London was mean and abusive to her daughter. She said she insisted that he stop taking in boys to live in their Coral Springs home.

    "He continued to move boys into the house. I literally would come downstairs in the morning and see a duffel bag and another boy had moved in," Wimberly testified.

    She said she finally could take no more and moved out.

    London, who was a mentor at the Bible Church of God and dean of students at Eagle Charter Academy, is being tried for 27 counts of lewd and lascivious molestation and sexual battery on a minor, according to the Sun Sentinel.

    Since London was arrested in 2012, at least 10 men have accused him of molestation while the men were pre-teens through their teenage years, the Sentinel reported. London faces life in prison if convicted, according to the newspaper.

    The defense will argue that none of the alleged victims was actually abused, that they're making it up to collect money in a civil law suit. That's why Wimberly's testimony might prove powerful to the jury, because she has nothing to gain.

    The trial resumes Thursday afternoon.