Biz owner sued for sex assault

Loring Pasta Bar and Varsity Theater owner Jason McLean was named in a civil suit Monday.

Nick Wicker

A civil complaint filed Monday accused a University-area business owner of sexual assault.
 
According to the complaint, Jason McLean, owner of Dinkytown’s Loring Pasta Bar and Varsity Theater , along with Children’s Theatre Company co-founder John Clark Donahue, sexually abused minors involved with the theater program.
 
A complaint filed Monday with the Hennepin County District Court detailed at least three instances of alleged sexual abuse on the part of McLean, then a company actor with CTC.  The court document also mentions 17 alleged victims of Donahue’s between 1960 and the 1980s. 
 
Two former CTC child actors, Laura Adams and an anonymous plaintiff, are suing for personal injury against McLean and Donahue, as well as the theater company.
 
Donahue was convicted of three counts of criminal sexual conduct in 1984 and served 10 months in jail, according to the complaint.
 
“I think the biggest question that people would ask … is ‘Why are you coming forward right now?’ ” Adams said at a press conference on Tuesday. “[I]t’s time to tell our stories. … We have held this secret far too long.”
 
In addition to three alleged accounts of sexual abuse from 1981 to 1986 — including one against Adams when she was 15 in 1983 — McLean may have abused more victim-survivors who have not come forward, the complaint said.
 
“Defendant McLean inflicted unpermitted, harmful, and offensive sexual contact upon the person of Plaintiff Laura Adams,” the complaint said. 
 
Law firm Jeff Anderson and Associates, which is representing Adams in the case, held an afternoon press conference to announce the lawsuit Tuesday
 
There, Anderson discussed the CTC culture Donahue created in the 1970s and ’80s that led to sexually abused children.
 
“This case is against the culture and theater that was. It’s not about the culture that is,” Anderson said at Tuesday’s conference.
 
The CTC released its own statement Tuesday regarding the lawsuit in response to Anderson’s claims.
 
“Any abuse of a child is a terrible act. It goes against everything we believe in as professionals and as human beings,” the CTC release said. “Based on what we know today, we do not believe that the Theatre was negligent in its conduct.”