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County DA Says He Can't Charge Father Jerold Lindner With Perjury

Perjury charge's highly technical criminal nature and 'materiality' of priest's testimony could not have been proved beyond a reasonable doubt, Jeff Rosen says.

The Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office on Wednesday said it's decided due to the highly technical criminal offense that requires several elements to be proved.

including those with the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, called on the DA to file perjury charges against Lindner for taking the stand and denying he had raped and sodomized Lynch and his brother while on camping trips in the '70s.

"The Santa Clara County prosecution team knew that Lindner was never prosecuted for his alleged crimes against the Lynch brothers because, as so often happens, children are afraid to report their victimization to law enforcement or are dissuaded by the perpetrators. The six year statute of limitations on child molestation ran before the authorities learned of the Lynch brother’s alleged molestation by Lindner," Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen wrote in a report about the case explaining his decision not to charge the priest with perjury.

During the opening statements of the trial, prosecutor Vicki Gemetti warned the jury that Lindner would lie on the stand about the abuse allegation and the priest did, in fact, deny the charges later invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination. 

Rosen said he had met with Lynch on Wednesday to discuss the decision.

"We believe that Lindner lied. However, perjury is not merely lying under oath,"  Rosen said. "It is a highly technical criminal offense that requires several elements to be proved. Citizens entrust us to prepare criminal complaints only for factually sound and legal reasons. We cannot do that in this matter."

The DA's Office concluded that the "materiality" of Lindner's testimony could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.

"To be charged with perjury, a person must knowingly testify falsely about something that was 'material' - essential and with the probability that it would influence the case's outcome," Rosen said. "Any lies about the alleged tragic events occurring approximately 30 years ago could not have been legally material in the 2012 jury's consideration of whether Lynch was guilty of assaulting Lindner in 2010."

The alleged molestations themselves were committed too long ago to prosecute, he added.

Carolyn Neal September 12, 2012 at 10:59 PM
He prosecuted Will because "no one is above the law" but that doesn't apply to a pedophile priest lying under oath in a court of law? The citizens of Santa Clara County need to demand Rosen's office investigate the residents of Sacred Heart Jesuit Center and their alleged "supervision". I sincerely hope, when DA Rosen is up for reelection, the voters remember that the chose to prosecute Will and not the pedophile who victimized him when he was 7 years old.
LoyolaAlum September 12, 2012 at 11:58 PM
It is outrageous that in the headquarters city of the California Jesuit Order – Los Gatos – that not one Jesuit will comment on breaking news on child sex abuse by a Jesuit. It thus appears to matter so little to the Jesuit Order that comments are outsourced.
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz September 13, 2012 at 04:42 AM
Again, I find these things that happen quite sad. Sadder what the Catholic Church will not do with these people......But I believe what goes around does come around.. And it always does....

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