Jason McLean hit with $2.5 million judgment in sexual abuse case

Jason McLean, seen here in 2004, is thought to be in the process of buying an expensive home and event space in Mexico.

Jason McLean, seen here in 2004, is thought to be in the process of buying an expensive home and event space in Mexico. Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune

Jason McLean, the former owner of Varsity Theater and Loring Pasta Bar in Minneapolis, has been ordered to pay $2.5 million to one of five women suing him for sexual abuse perpetrated during McLean's years as a teacher with the Children's Theatre Company. 

The judgment amount is almost identical to the $2.51 million McLean sold the theater for back in July. Prior to that sale, the theater had effectively gone dark in the wake of allegations that McLean was a serial abuser of underage girls he'd taught. In August, McLean sold Loring Pasta Bar to a group of former managers and employees.

But signs don't point to any willingness from McLean to sign over the money he netted from those sales. McLean has avoided participating in this case, ducking a deposition which had been scheduled for August, refusing to respond to court filings, and at one point losing his legal representation.

In his order for a "default judgment" in favor of the victim, Hennepin County Judge Frank Magill wrote of McLean's "complete disregard for the legal process." 

Wrote Magill: "As set out in the Court's Findings of Fact, above, Defendant has failed to follow the rules of discovery and the Court's orders repeatedly and without excuse. Defendant has failed to appear at numerous hearings and has filed nothing for months."

The $2.5 million judgment for "significant phsyological damage" suffered by the victim -- referred to as Jane Doe 114 -- is an "appropriate" amount, Judge Magill wrote, and "consistent with jury verdicts in comparable cases."

McLean is now believed to be living in the Baja California region of Mexico. A U.S. citizen living there has filed an affidavit stating he has "first-hand information" that McLean "is currently in the process" of buying a place in Cabo San Lucas valued at more than $1 million.

More like $1.5 million according to a press release from attorney Jeff Anderrson, who is representing the five women who say McLean abused them. After fleeing Minnesota, McLean spent time in Oakland, California, where he still owns a restaurant called Small Wonder -- formerly called the Loring Cafe -- before moving on to Mexico.

According to the affidavit on McLean's recent business dealings, he informed the owner of a hotel property he had $1.4 million in cash. That owner, who later learned of allegations against McLean after searching his name online, says he believes McLean later purchased a large seaside house, which has in the past been rented out for weddings and private parties.

During his negotiations, McLean had said it was "important that the property McLean purchase be a property that generates income."

Anderson says his team has been "hunting down" McLean since he skipped town, and that the time has come for a "serious reckoning." 

Says Anderson, who has also represented victims suing priests now living in foreign countries: "We are concerned that McLean still continues to pose a serious risk of harm, and we will continue to do whatever it takes to make him accountable to the women he harmed as children, even if it means chasing him to the ends of the earth."