Former Varsity Theater owner now owes $2.5M in molestation case

It's over alleged abuse at the Children's Theater Company in the 1980s.
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Following a court ruling, the notorious former owner of the Varsity Theater and the Loring Pasta Bar is on the hook for millions of dollars over sexual allegations dating back to the 1980s.

But collecting the money from him may be difficult, as he's believed to be on the lam.

Jeff Anderson & Associates announced on Monday that a Hennepin County court has made a $2.51 million judgment against Jason McLean, in relation to a civil lawsuit from a woman identified as "Doe 114"

The law firm, known for representing Twin Cities clergy sex abuse victims, says the Oct. 26 ruling comes after McClean's failure to appear for a court date scheduled during the summer. 

The firm says McClean is believed to reside in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, where he's "purchasing real estate that includes a $1,500,000 house."

But Anderson, quoted in the news release, is vowing to bring him to justice.

"We will continue to do whatever it takes to make him accountable...even if it means chasing him to the ends of the earth,” the attorney said.

He also indicated that his firm has been "hunting down" the businessman, who was recently found in California and then "chased" south of the border. 

McClean sold the Varsity Theater – a Dinkytown staple – for $2.51 million (the same amount as the court judgment) in June, while the Loring Pasta Bar was closed down in late July

The allegations

A total of five women, including Doe 114, have filed lawsuits against McClean, all in relation to his stint as a teacher at the Minneapolis Children's Theater Company (CTC) in the 1980s. 

They allege that he sexually abused them "when they were young girls attending the theatre school," Anderson & Associates says. 

As the Star Tribune notes, their suits were filed under the Minnesota Child Victims Act, which for a time removed the statute of limitations on the sexual abuse of minors, allowing victims to seek legal action long after the abuse had occurred.

For its part, CTC said in a Monday statement that it is "fully cooperating" with the plaintiffs' attorneys during the legal process, "as we want to see justice done for anyone who has suffered abuse as a child."

The organization also says it has "created a comprehensive set of practices designed to keep children safe" – including mandatory background checks for employees, and strict rules prohibiting staff and volunteers from ever being alone with students.

The practices came in the wake of the company's sex abuse scandal in the 1980s, when then-Artistic Director John Clark Donahue was tried and convicted of having abused at least three boys under his leadership.

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