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.

Judy Jones September 20, 2012 at 11:56 PM
Let's hope that anyone who may have knowledge about this case, will have the courage and strength to report it to the police. Also, if any others have been harmed by Brother Charles Leonard Connor, also please contact the police, no matter how long ago the abuse happened. Keep in mind your silence only hurts, and by speaking up there is a chance for healing, exposing the truth, and therefore protecting others. Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511. snapjudy@gmail.com, (SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests,)
Tim Lennon September 21, 2012 at 12:13 AM
Witness to the drop of the victim from the parking structure implied the victim was unresponsive, police failed to investigate the scene or interview witnesses, and other suspicious events raise questions.
Paul Smith September 21, 2012 at 12:26 AM
The Los Gatos Jesuits have not distinguished themselves as strong supporters of justice. How any organization could justify protecting and supporting someone like Fr Jerold, who denies any wrong doing, is beyond belief. The first thing the Jesuits should have insisted on is for Fr Jerold to tell them the truth. But truth is yet another victim in the name of protecting the Order.
Carolyn Neal September 21, 2012 at 01:15 AM
The San Jose Police Department and District Attorney Jeff Rosen should investigate the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, one of many "retirement homes" the Catholic Church uses to house priests accused of pedophilia. They owe it to the citizens of Santa Clara County to demand answers from the Catholic Church, prosecute any crime to the fullest extent of the law and ensure no more children are preyed upon by these monsters.
Larry Arzie September 21, 2012 at 01:23 AM
I have never been a faithful supportive catholic, so it comes as a surprise to myself that I suggest we wait for any future investigation before we start conspiracy rumors. Pray for forgiveness of our own errors and leave condemnation to a higher power.
Marie Kinnon Anderson September 21, 2012 at 03:00 AM
Please keep following and writing about this. Any updates are welcomed by me and my family. It is plain to see that children are not the only victims. I have been following this since the Lindner/Lynch trial, where I met the priest's brother and was astonished at the lack of investigation into this death. I am glad to see people talking about it. The church has gotten away with to much already. If this is in fact murder, the people responsible need to face a jury, just as Will Lynch did. Do not let this story die! Marie Kinnon
Melanie Jula Sakoda September 21, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Thank you for helping to bring attention to the suspicious death of Father James Chevedden. I hope that the San Jose District Attorney will open an investigation, as John Chevedden suggests. Melanie Jula Sakoda Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) SNAP East Bay Director melanie.sakoda@gmail.com 925-708-6175
Carolyn Neal September 21, 2012 at 03:42 AM
There is no dispute that the Catholic Church has consistently protected pedophiles within their ranks causing the unnecessary victimization of the countless children they should have been protecting. There is no dispute that they have failed to notify or assist law enforcement in prosecuting crimes they were fully aware of. It is not prayer that will solve this crisis. It is society, and especially the laity, demanding changes within the church and any other organization that puts it's reputation above the lives of children and the innocent. It is not condemnation we seek. It is justice.
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz September 21, 2012 at 04:04 AM
Very Sad. But only GOD knows why.
LoyolaAlum September 21, 2012 at 06:35 AM
Sadly there must be hundreds of videos of jumpers. Is there any expert who has seen such a video where the jumper started from a narrow ledge, instantly transitioned into to a back-first horizontal position, rigidly held that position throughout the fall and ended up parallel to the building and 10-feet away from the building?
Augusta Wynn September 21, 2012 at 04:18 PM
Did the Jesuits know that Brother Connor was a sex abuser when they placed him caring for the incapacitated Father Chevedden? And did they know that Father LIndner was a sex abuser when they had him drive Father Chevedden to the court house? Are the Jesuits in charge in the habit of allowing their pedophile priests to drive about town? Has Father Lindner been questioned as to wheher or not he pushed Father Chevedden? Certainly, the word of Lindner and his Jesuit superiors would mean little in this regard. Men with roman collars who allow other men with roman collars ( and in the name of All that is Holy) to sexually abuse children willy nilly and then cover it up for decades, are certainly not to be trusted about suspected murders. It is way past time for the District Attorney to investigate Father Chevedden's death.
Jacqueline Kruger September 21, 2012 at 04:33 PM
Prayer is our most powerful weapon in all cases. This is a very unbelievable situation. However, if you want to bring about a change, you are taking on a monumental task because statistics prove that there is more molestation in public schools than in the church. It is amazing how the other faiths and the secular public schools don't get the negative publicity that the Catholic Church gets? I suggest that you pray the Rosary daily for our children and teenager's protection. Pray especially for those teens who are experimenting with consensual sex then blaming priests as molesters for the big windfall that they failed to provide for themselves 30 or more years later. I'm not saying that priests are right to have sex with young boys or with anyone for that matter. Chastity applies to us all who are not married. It also has been proven that 50% of the cases are falsely accused. Opportunists will be just that! The Church is making every effort to correct this problem but we do have some orders and dioceses that are under liberal ideology and control. That is a reality.
LoyolaAlum September 21, 2012 at 05:16 PM
St. Basil the Great parish in Los Gatos Fr. James Chevedden additionally served at St. Basil the Great Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic parish in Los Gatos at 14263 Mulberry Ave.
LoyolaAlum September 21, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, Los Gatos Fr. Chevedden also said Mass regularly for The Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary at Prospect Ave., Los Gatos.
Jeffrey Bachman September 21, 2012 at 06:06 PM
Good luck getting the SJPD to open this investigation again. Not a priority for this department, cold cases & suspicious ones such as this. Good luck and feeling for the family.
Ethan Harmer September 21, 2012 at 06:07 PM
My sympathies to John Chevedden and his family. Losing people to suicide is forever devastating. If suicide was not what took his brother's life, he should fight until he gets the answers and those responsible pay. Suicide is an epidemic, a heartbreaking emotional plague
Patrick J Wall September 21, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Father Jim Chevedden S.J. quietly served a number of small faith communities including the Chinese Catholics, Saint Basil the Great Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic church in Los Gatos and Our lady of Fatima Russian Byzantine Catholic parish in San Francisco. If anyone in these communites has information, please call law enforcement.
LoyolaAlum September 22, 2012 at 01:52 AM
An Archive of Jesuit Accountability – Clergy Sexual Abuse in the Society of Jesus http://vu2103.katla.orangewebsite.com/category/al-naucke-sj/ This time the California Province is being implicated in the death of one of their own, a fellow Jesuit who was sexually abused and forced to live with his abuser at Sacred Heart Retreat Center in Los Gatos. Thanks to the courage and dedication of John Chevedden the story is finally getting out and hopefully his brother’s death will be properly investigated. With the offer of a $5,000 reward for information regarding his brother’s mysterious death, John is offering a way out for some Jesuit in the California Province. Here is a chance to come clean, do what Jesus would and get enough for a new start after the Society. WhatTheyKnew.com was there and knows where to find the truth… “It shows how my brother suffered under the Jesuit hierarchy,” John said back in 2007. Al Naucke SJ knows not to go to great heights reporting abusers …he has “faint recollections” when Donald McGuire SJ was reported by Buckley to Naucke for molesting children again. It seems like every Jesuit in the world knew, doesn’t it? Tom Smolich SJ knows he’s not clever enough to hide what happened to Chevedden forever. Donald McGuire SJ still doesn’t know why he was never thrown out of his window by his brother Jesuits when they caught him in the act of raping children.
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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