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Did Los Gatos Priest Commit Suicide?

Brother of late Jesuit priest wants investigation re-opened and is offering $5,000 reward for any additional information about his death.

The brother of the late Los Gatos Jesuit priest Jim Chevedden held a news conference in front of the San Jose Hall of Justice Wednesday at noon to announce a $5,000 reward for any information about his death.

John Chevedden says his brother's demise, which San Jose Police said was a suicide after he jumped from the third story of the parking structure across from the courthouse on Hedding Street, is suspicious enough to reopen the investigation.

Jim Chevedden died in May 19, 2004 on his 56th birthday and according to his brother was coincidentally driven to the courthouse on that fateful day for jury duty by

Now John Chevedden wants the San Jose Police Department to open the investigation into his brother's death and is asking the California Province of
the Society of Jesus
, headquartered in Los Gatos in a large compound at 300 College Ave., to turn over any records and documents related to the death to the authorities.

Attending the news conference Wednesday were Lynch and several members of the Survivors Network for Those Abused by Priests. They're helping John Chevedden spread the word about the reward and have even looked at how suicide jump victims die.

"He could have been hurled over," John Chevedden said about how his brother fell three stories down to this death. "Jumpers usually land on their feet or on their heads and he landed flat on his back. The Coroner said he had no injuries on the back of his head."

The late convicted sex offender Jesuit Brother Charles Leonard Connor, who was listed on the Megan's Law website, is said to have abused Jim Chevedden while he was in a wheelchair, which he followed up with physical abuse, according to John Chevedden.

And Lindner, whom prosecutors have openly admitted in court abused Lynch and his brother while on camping trips in the '70s, drove Jim Chevedden to the courthouse the day of his death testifying about it during a deposition on a wrongful death suit filed against the Order and settled out of court by Jim Chevedden's family for $1.6 million in December of 2007.

"The theory of the lawsuit was that the Jesuits were reckless and put him in a hostile environment," John Chevedden said. “My brother did have psychological problems and he was a sexual abuse victim by Brother Connor and for him to live there with Father Lindner and Brother Connor ... that’s horrendous. That’s the last thing you would wish upon anybody,” he said. “They were well aware of this and they still forced him to live there.”

An email and phone calls to Jesuit Order spokesman Patrick Walsh and Jesuit Provincial Michael Weiler weren't immediately returned by the time of this posting.

Anyone with information about Jim Chevedden's death should contact the family at truthforjim@yahoo.com.

Carolyn Neal September 22, 2012 at 03:12 AM
I sincerely hope the Chevedden family is able to find the answers they seek. I urge anyone with information about Father Chevedden's death, Father Jerold Lindner or any other pedophile living at Sacred Heart to come forward. Justice and peace is long overdue both for those who have been victimized and the ones who love them.
Joey Piscitelli September 22, 2012 at 05:34 AM
Thank you Los Gatos Patch for the news and reports concerning the conduct of the Jesuits in the Los Gatos community. It is of vital interest to parents and citizens in the area to be aware of the activities of these clerics and the church hierarchy. Although the news may be disturbing, it does serve the purpose of allowing the community to be aware and vigilant, aiding in the protection of children in the area. The stories provided by the LG Patch have been a credible source for information that the Jesuits have historically kept silent, and the transparancy supplied by the media is a valuable asset that is truly appreciated.
LoyolaAlum September 22, 2012 at 02:20 PM
Comment applies to more than one Patch article Comment to: SNAP Protests [Jesuit] Religious Brother in Los Gatos Accused of Sexual Molestation P Edwards 1:09 am on Saturday, September 22, 2012 No, I was not sexually abused as a child. I am a grown woman, who had sexual relations with a man who had been sexually molested as a child (by a Jesuit). This man grew up, got married, raised children and also struggled with a vicious (hidden) sexual addiction. This addiction ended his marriage through a tragic divorce. The addiction, which includes sex with prostitutes both men and women, was not only harmful to his health mentally and physically, but to his family members and myself as well. I contracted a lifelong disease because of his "acting out", and inability to be honest. Is that abuse as well? My point is; there is a sad and tragic cycle of abuse that must be broken. The ramifications are obviously more far reaching and broad than the child who was molested. How do we heal these wounds? I'm not sure. I do know they can't be covered up and allowed to fester. Wounds need fresh air, light and love...
LoyolaAlum May 21, 2013 at 11:10 AM
Jesuits agree to pay $19 million to settle priest abuse case This was probably approved by Fr. Thomas Smolich, the Jesuit Los Gatos Provincial (1999-2005) May 21, 2013, AP CHICAGO – An attorney for six men who claim they were abused by a now-defrocked priest says Jesuit officials have agreed to pay $19.6 million to settle his clients' lawsuit. The Chicago Sun-Times reports that attorney Jeff Anderson announced the settlement Monday. He says the amount reflects the "magnitude of misconduct" by Donald McGuire's superiors in the Chicago Province for the Society of Jesus. McGuire is serving a 25-year prison term after being convicted of taking a minor on religious retreats to have sex with him. Anderson says the men who filed the lawsuit range in age from their 20s to their 40s. They claim the priest molested them when they were children between 1975 and the early 2000s.
LoyolaAlum July 15, 2013 at 02:03 AM
Suicide or Staged Suicide: In a case that has some similarities – Family of woman found hanging from mansion balcony just filed a $10M lawsuit claiming she was murdered even though her death was ruled suicide. Rebecca Zahau's family claims she was murdered near San Diego by family members of her boyfriend, billionaire Jonah Shacknai.

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