Ex-wife testifies she found pastor in bed with boy
the outside world, Jeffery London was an upright, God-fearing pastor, a dean of students, a youth group leader and school security guard who benevolently brought needy boys to live with him.
But witnesses who testified for the prosecution Friday in London’s trial on a federal sex charge, said London’s public persona belied his manipulative, abusive behavior in private.
London, 51, has pleaded not guilty to one count of using a cellphone to lure a minor into sexual activity with him.
The alleged victim, now 20, told jurors London sexually abused him between the ages 7 and 16. The man is not being identified by the Sun Sentinel because of the nature of the allegations.
Jurors also heard Friday from London’s ex-wife, Aretha Wimberly, who testified she came home unexpectedly one day to their Coral Springs home and found London in bed — under the covers and behind a locked bedroom door — with another underaged boy.
Though she saw no sexual activity, after unlocking the door with a spare key her husband did not know she had, she said the incident made her “very uncomfortable.”
She argued with her husband about what she thought was extremely inappropriate behavior with a 16-year-old, one of many boys who lived in their home over the years.
London insisted they had only been watching cartoons, she said. London was fully dressed under the covers and but the teen only wore basketball shorts, she said.
Wimberly said she also tried to gently encourage the boy to confide in her but he too said there was nothing to tell.
Later Friday afternoon, that boy, now 29, told the jury London sexually abused him too — describing strikingly similar methods to the ones jurors heard about Thursday and earlier Friday from the alleged victim in the criminal case.
The 29-year-old said he was afraid to tell Wimberly she had walked in on him and London shortly after London showed him a brief clip of pornography, which he said was a prelude to many of the incidents of sexual abuse London inflicted on him.
The abuse, which involved oral sex and attempted anal sex, started when he was 8 and ended when he was 21, he said. London gave him clothes, gifts and other treats when he was younger, and cash when he was older, he said.
Because London was so respected in the community, the young man said he was too intimidated to report the abuse and feared nobody would believe him if he spoke up.
“He was an adult, I never really disrespected many adults as a kid,” he said.
Assistant Federal Public Defender Daryl Wilcox tried to attack the credibility of both alleged victims by questioning them about civil lawsuits they, and several other young men, filed against the estate of London’s deceased wealthy benefactor, Elizabeth “B.J.” Huizenga Buntrock. Her charities bought homes in Coral Springs and Lauderdale Lakes where London lived and housed the boys, according to court testimony.
Besides Buntrock’s estate, the young men are suing Bible Church of God, in Fort Lauderdale, where London was a pastor; Eagle Charter Academy in Lauderdale Lakes where London was dean of students; and other organizations. Lawyers allege the organizations failed to protect the boys and conducted inadequate background checks.
London was acquitted of 27 state sex abuse charges, involving four underage boys, last year after a jury trial in Broward Circuit Court.
Wimberly told jurors the couple met through a mutual friend who thought their religious beliefs made them a match. They divorced in 2003 after three rocky years of marriage.
Wimberly said the marriage rapidly deteriorated as he ignored and isolated her and tried to prevent her from forming bonds with the many underage boys he brought into their home.
She said they had agreed that only a couple of boys would live with them after they married, because she wanted to protect her young daughter from having a constant stream of strangers living in the house.
London violated that agreement, brought many young boys to live in the house without consulting her, treated her daughter poorly and got into sometimes violent rages when any of them defied him, Wimberly testified.
“I’m still not 100 percent sure why he married me, other than the pretense of having a wife,” she testified.