OAKLAND (KPIX 5) — A popular Oakland cafe is still serving customers even though questions are swirling about the owner’s whereabouts, and what happened in Minneapolis 30 years ago.
The fate of the popular Oakland cafe Small Wonder is up in the air and the owner is on the run after a judge ordered him to pay millions in a case of sexual abuse.
“I was groomed by Jason McLean and in the spring of 1983 when I was 15 I was coerced and raped,” said Laura Adams, one of five people suing restaurateur McLean.
Their lawyer told us McLean sexually abused the children in the 1980s when they were as young as 13 and while he was a teacher at a children’s theater in Minnesota.
“He’s a serial predator,” said attorney Molly Burke.
On Tuesday, a judge ruled McLean must pay $2.5 million to one of his accusers.
Mclean was not at Small Wonder when we dropped by Wednesday. His employees say they haven’t seen him in weeks.
John Kiskadeon, who owns Greer and Harper clothing store next door to Small Wonder, told us he knows McLean as an acquaintance and he never expected this.
“Jason is an interesting guy. He’s rather on the shy end, but this is just very shocking,” Kiskadeon said.
More shocking, attorneys say, McLean has failed to show up for a number of court appearances and was last seen in Mexico.
Court records show he has sold properties in Minnesota and is in the process of trying to buy a $1.5 million property in Cabo San Lucas.
Burke said, “There’s a real concern that he is still a risk to society and possibly out there hurting others.”
Small wonder customers on Tuesday night said the allegations have them shaken.
“If I had known about this, I wouldn’t have come here,” a customer told us.