Investigation reopened into 1988 death

Feb. 12, 2013 at 1:57 AM
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SYDNEY, Feb. 12 (UPI) -- Police in Sydney have reopened their investigation into the death of a gay man from the United States who was found at the foot of a cliff in 1988.

Investigators announced Tuesday that a $102,500 reward is being offered for information into the death of Scott Johnson, 27, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Johnson, described by his family as a mathematical genius, attended the California Institute of Technology. He moved to Australia after becoming involved with a man he met at Cambridge University because of the country's liberal policies on gay civil unions and was about to complete his doctoral work at the Australian National University, his brother, Steve, said.

Steve Johnson said he arrived in Australia a few days after his death and discovered police had already closed the case as a suicide. One officer told him homosexual men frequently killed themselves.

In 2004, a coroner ruled three men found dead in similar circumstances in the same area had probably been thrown from cliffs by groups who prowled cruising areas looking for homosexuals.

The Johnson family hired Daniel Glick, a U.S. journalist, to investigate the death.

"In the information that we've supplied to the police, there were many similar gangs operating in the northern beaches, going from beat to beat to beat, it was like a sport and there is evidence and evidence and evidence that this was happening," Glick said Tuesday. "I have personally spoken to dozens and dozens of men who were assaulted who were afraid to come forward at the time, and their stories dovetail with each other."

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