Former Va. Beach youth pastor to serve 10 years for sex crime

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A Virginia Beach man will be serving 10 years in prison for a 2001 sexual assault case.

47-year-old Jeffrey Bondi was accused of inappropriately touching an 18-year-old woman who was in a church group. He was a youth pastor at the church at that time.

“It is a tough decision,” said Bondi’s attorney Stephen Pheiffer. “It is a tough case for Judge Padrick.”

The victim, Margaret Anne Viola, was only 18 when she was assaulted by Bondi. He was a father figure. She was a college student home to baby sit from him. His kids were upstairs sleeping.

“I feel that my negative horrible experience has now served a purpose which is really amazing,” Viola added.

Viola took the stand Tuesday and talked about how the 2001 incident changed her life. She dropped out of college, began cutting herself and took pills to numb the pain. She called Bondi a monster who destroyed her life.

“I just don’t believe his intentions have ever been good,” Viola added.

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Viola says she went though years of counseling. She now lives in California. She told the court she had to get as far away from Bondi as possible.

Bondi apologized for his actions saying he is guilty of sexual misconduct and that he was selfish in his transgressions.

His attorneys argued he has done so many good things over the last 16 years and has never hidden from the guilt. They submitted 160 letters of people who are in his corner.

“I think the 160 plus letters the testimony of the community show in 16 years he has done what a monster doesn’t do which is tear people down and destroy lives,” Pheiffer added. “He has built up lives on the most vulnerable people in this community.”

The judge pointed to allegations of sexual abuse in 1992 and 1997 against Bondi but he was never changed. He called Bondi a ‘serial sexual abuser.’ The judge said this is a true tragedy, but believes Bondi is still a threat to the community.

Viola believes her pain can serve as a learning lesson.

“I hope that in the end institutions like church institutions and schools or anyone who works with youth will just be more diligent in who they put in positions of authority,” Viola said. “That is really the outcome I can hope for.”

When Bondi gets out of prison he will have to register as a sex offender, never be allowed to work around children and be subject to polygraph examines.