VIRGINIA BEACH, Va (WVEC) -- Moments after her former church mentor was convicted of a sex crime, Margaret Anne Viola stood in confidence outside Virginia Beach Courts to speak out.
“This whole process has changed my life,” said Viola. “It’s been hard for everybody. The community was betrayed and my family suffered a lot.”
Her abuser, Jeff Bondi hung his head as a judge convicted him of the felony.
It was close to 15 years ago, Viola, just 18-years old was assaulted by the Galilee Church leader at his Virginia Beach home while she babysat his kids. His pregnant wife was away.
Now in her 30’s, Viola says the incident caused an emotional downward spiral. She had to temporarily leave college and receive years of counseling.
In court Thursday, Bondi's defense argued there were flaws in the victim's story.
“We think the delay in the reporting, the way it was reported differently and the fact that she spoke to legal counsel a day after the incident is very telling,” said Attorney Stephen Pfeiffer.
“You don’t always feel at first that you understand the entire thing,” Viola said. “It’s very complicated when it’s someone you know and trust and loved.”
Bondi’s defense denies any contact as serious as the felony he was convicted of committing.
Regardless, the judge saw things differently, but admitted nature of the crime made it difficult to make a ruling.
Bondi now faces a sentence from five years to life. His attorneys argue their client’s defamed name and reputation is enough punishment.
Viola just has one hope.
“The best I can hope for is that he’s prevented from working with youth and come in contact with kids in any way shape or form,” said Viola.
Viola now lives in California where she does stand-up comedy. She'll come back to Virginia Beach in October.
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