Broward News

New Lawsuit Goes After Alleged Enablers in Sexual Assault Case

In 2012, Jeffery London, a former youth pastor and charter-school dean of students, was accused of a vicious pattern of sexual assault with the poor kids he let stay with him at an unlicensed foster home dubbed "London's Hotel." The investigation reportedly involved up to 40 possible victims.

When London went to trial in early 2014, a jury found him not guilty. But this October, he's scheduled to again face a jury on 18 additional criminal charges coming from four more accusers.

Additionally, a civil lawsuit has dropped in Broward filed by four alleged John Doe victims rehashing the allegations. The target of this suit: not London but the charitable institutions that allegedly enabled the abuse.

One of the suit's targets is the estate of Elizabeth Buntrock, a now-deceased philanthropist. According to documents filed in court, in 2000, London moved into a Coral Springs home paid for by a Buntrock charity and meant to provide housing for underprivileged minor male children. But no one in the organization vetted London, made sure the caretaker was properly licensed as a social worker, or directly supervised his interactions with kids, the lawsuit claims.

"London accessed dozens of young boys... for the purpose of grooming, manipulating, and coercing them into becoming sex slaves," the filing states. "He was able to do this without supervision thereby to brainwash poor and vulnerable children in his custody and control through use of force, threats, guile, church authority and religion, bribes, and the exchange of other benefits for sexual favors, such as treats, video games, shopping tribes, money, transportation, clothing, food, travel, and shelter."

The lawsuit claims that Eagle Academy Charter School bears similar blame. Between 2003 and 2009, London served as dean of students for the Lauderdale Lakes charter school. Once again, the position put him in close proximity to potential victims, the suit argues. "London had poor high school grades, no college degree, no teaching certificate, no educational or administrative experience, and no credentials qualifying him to be the Dean of any educational institution."

The lawsuit also lists the Bible Church of God Inc. as a defendant. Owned by London's family, the church has two locations — in Fort Lauderdale and Boynton Beach. The lawsuit claims that as a youth minister with the church, London was able to "advance himself as a custodian for young boys" even though church leaders "knew or... should have known that London was a serial child rapist for many years." Instead, "they allowed London uninterrupted access to underage minor children."

A call for comment to the plaintiffs' lawyer, Matthew Weissing, was not returned. A representative for Elizabeth Buntrock's estate and Eagle Academy could not be reached for comment. A message left with Bible Church of God was not returned.

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Kyle Swenson
Contact: Kyle Swenson