- Family offers reward for clues on priest's death
- Cleric was sexually abused at Los Gatos hospital
- Then he reported the crimes to a notorious predator
- Soon after, victim died in mysterious circumstances
- Jesuits settled wrongful death suit, but family wants answers
Holding signs and photos of a deceased priest, his family is offering a $5,000 reward to anyone with information on the priest's mysterious death. They will also discuss the facts that the priest:
-- Was sexually abused, by another cleric, while he was a patient at a controversial Los Gatos hospital, and
-- Reported his abuse to a fellow Jesuit who recently lied on the stand in a high-profile criminal trial, and
-- Show the mysterious nature of Chevedden's death and how the Jesuits settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the family
They will also ask the California Jesuit officials to:
-- Turn over all information about the priest's death to law enforcement, and
-- Urge anyone with information to report to his family or police.
Wednesday, September 19 at NOON
Outside of Santa Clara County Hall of Justice, 190 West Hedding Street in San Jose
Relatives of Fr. James Chevedden and 2-3 victims of child sexual abuse and their supporters who are members of a self-help group called SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAPNetwork.org).
Why: Today, family members of a deceased priest are offering a $5000 financial reward to anyone with information about his mysterious death and the events leading up to it. The cleric, Fr. James Chevedden, was molested in 1998 by another priest.
Chevedden, a California Jesuit priest, died in May 2004 from a fall from a four-story parking lot near the Santa Clara County Hall of Justice. http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2005_07_12/2005_08_06_Bunting_BehindA.htm. Chevedden had just spent the day in jury duty.
In 2002, Chevedden reported to Jesuit officials that he had been sexually abused 1998 by registered sex offender Fr. Charles Connor. One of the officials Chevedden told was Fr. Jerold Lindner, a notorious predator priest http://www.bishopaccountability.org/assign/Lindner_Jerold_W_sj.htm. Just months before Chevedden’s death, Connor sexually harassed Chevedden. According to the family, Lindner was one of the last people to see Chevedden alive.
Earlier this year in a criminal beating trial, Lindner lied on the stand about abusing kids. More than a dozen victims have come forward to say Lindner assaulted them, including Lindner's own sister. members.http://www.bishop-accountability.org/news2005_07_12/2005_08_06_Bunting_BehindA.htm
While the coroner ruled Chevedden’s death a suicide, his relatives say that the priest had defensive wounds on his body. Witnesses also said Chevedden looked unconscious when he fell. A security camera captured the fall and photos of the scene are inconsistent with a suicide jump, the family says.
In 2007, the family settled a wrongful death lawsuit against the Jesuits for $1.6 million.
The Chevedden family hopes that the reward will encourage people to come forward and report what they know or suspect. Many times, they say, witnesses to tragic events like this aren’t sure who to tell when they see something wrong. The family hopes that publicity about the reward will show witnesses and whistleblowers that it is safe to report.
Information for tipsters and whistleblowers, including phone numbers, email addresses and websites will be made available at the event. Tipsters' identities will remain confidential.
Joelle Casteix of Newport Beach, SNAP Volunteer Western Regional Director (949) 322-7434, firstname.lastname@example.org
John Chevedden of Redondo Beach, brother of Fr. James Chevedden, (310) 371-7872 or 310-896-6617, email@example.com
Barb Dorris of St. Louis, SNAP Outreach Director, (314) 503-0003, firstname.lastname@example.org