Trial begins for Va. Beach man accused of sex crime

Jeffrey Bondi appears in court for a hearing on Feb. 1, 2017. (WAVY Photo)

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Jeffery Bondi, the former Virginia Beach youth pastor, is on trial from an alleged incident that stems from one night back in 2001. That’s when he allegedly sexually assaulted an 18-year-old girl who was a member of his church youth group.

The victim, who WAVY News will not identify, was the first to take the stand. She was a freshman at James Madison University in October 2001.

She came home to babysit Bondi’s three children. The victim said Bondi told her he wanted to go to football game and his wife, who was pregnant, with their fourth child was away at a wedding.  The victim told the court she looked at Bondi like a father figure and was very close to his family.

The victim went on to say that she was sleeping on the couch when Bondi came home. The two talked for a bit before she says he grabbed a pillow and laid down on her lap.

“I sat there very stiffly,” said told the judge. “I had my arms down by my side.”

She said Bondi then laid behind her and put his arm around her.

“I was completely frozen,” she added.

She said that’s when she felt his hands began to wander — first on her belly and then up her shirt and then moved again down to unbutton and unzip her pants.

Bondi was charged with object penetration. The victim told the court that he used his hand to commit the crime.

The victim said she tried to leave at one point and that’s when Bondi told her told stay.

“Honestly I was extremely scared,” she said. “I was in shock, worried about his his children waking up and coming downstairs. It did not feel good. It was painful.”

She told the judge Bondi then laid on top of her as she was assaulted again.

Bondi was fired from the Galilee Church, but the victim never went to police. That didn’t happened until a family friend went to officers in 2016.

Defense attorneys told the court that there is no question Bondi did have inappropriate contact with the victim, but things never went that far.

“The person I looked at as a father figure betrayed me,” she said. “It took me a very long time to accept what happened to me.”

She told the court she went back to JMU, where she ended up dropping out in the spring semester. She also said she had a history of having an eating disorder the trauma caused to come back.

It wasn’t until 2016 when she saw a post on Facebook from Bondi’s daughter that she decided to speak up about what happened.

That same year, the victim was in living in Los Angeles. She went to the Los Angeles Police Department, as Virginia Beach police requested, and called Bondi.

The audio of the conversation was played in court.

“I think this happened because I had a problem with lust,” Bondi told her on the phone. “I’m not trying to downplay it. It was horrible and inappropriate. I was thinking, ‘Am I really going to do this?’ Fighting myself. I don’t remember everything, but I’m very sorry regardless.”

The victim asked Bondi about the penetration.

“I don’t remember that happening at all,” he said. “I wish I could remember the way you did.”

Witnesses testified Bondi told them about the incident and say he told them he stopped as soon as he felt pubic hair.

Bondi told detectives he shouldn’t have made advances on the victim.

Defense attorneys also argue that the victim had plenty of chances to tell people close to her all the details about what happened that night over the years, but never did.

Both sides have rested their cases. Closing arguments will begin Thursday morning.