City Pages recently covered the story of a 39-year-old woman from Chisholm, Minnesota, and her inability to break free from a man who uses intimidation, constant surveillance, and violence to control her.
Eyewitnesses and social media messages sent to her by Craig Champa built a portrait of an obsessive stalker. Meanwhile, a review of Chisholm police reports found that while officers consistently took Champa’s word at face value, they relinquished their duty to investigate Shannon Jarvis’ cries for help.
Since “He’s going to kill me” hit the stands, Jarvis and her children have been in hiding. Jarvis has deactivated her Facebook account in anticipation that Champa’s family and friends would denounce the story and villify her.
She says she has accepted that many in this small town will pick alliances before weighing the evidence, but maintains that she spoke out only because she felt her community needed to see that something had to be done about the way Chisholm responds to domestic violence.
“That’s what makes me sad, that at poker with everybody there, he has so many times shown his true colors,” Jarvis says. “He’d push me around, won’t let me move, stands behind me whispering in my ear. Nobody says anything. Nobody stops him. And it’s like that no matter where we go. I just don’t go anywhere. None of these people in town have seen me in a year, other than at poker, or the grocery store. I don’t go out ever anymore. I’m not allowed to.”
One reader who has never met Jarvis, Terry Jeppesen Beale, set up a GoFundMe to help Jarvis leave town and start anew.
Part of Jarvis’ problem is that her house – which is located across the street from Champa’s – is contract for deed. She owes three more years on it, and is currently down to paying only $150 a month.
She does not know where else she could easily find a job or a home she can afford.
“I just wanna stand my ground, but I wanna run away too,” Jarvis says.
Meanwhile, Champa says that he has many friends and supporters in Chisholm who do not believe Jarvis.
They include Katherine Avery, who told City Pages, “That picture of Shannon’s face beat up was from her high on meth running from the police tripping on a stick. I was informed of this by my 17 year old daughter.”
To be clear, Avery’s 17-year-old daughter was not present during the July 8 incident in the woods of Buyck, where Jarvis alleged Champa picked her up and threw her down on the ground. Champa claimed that she had simply tripped and fallen while drunk.
Another friend of Champa’s, Jeff Cappo, commented to say that because he’s known Champa to be a good man for more than 40 years, the GoFundMe must be a scam.
It’s unclear whether Cappo has ever met Jarvis or spoken to her. However, a brief look at his Facebook page leaves little question as to his thoughts on women.
Former Mayor John Champa, Craig’s uncle, even threatened City Pages with a $5 million “decimation” lawsuit.
Jarvis says she at first was reluctant to embrace the GoFundMe initiative. Her kids convinced her otherwise.
“‘Mom, this is getting bad out there. We need to get out of here,’” her daughter told her.
“I get it," says Jarvis. "I need to get out of this town.”