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Defrocked Los Gatos Jesuit Priest Denies Molestation

A trial continues Thursday in the case of a San Francisco man accused of assault and elder abuse of a former priest who the defendant claims sexually molested him and his brother when they were children.

OUTSIDE SAN FRANCISCO, CA -- Defrocked Jesuit priest Jerold Lindner denied Wednesday that he raped and sodomized the man accused of assaulting him in May of 2010.

Lindner's denial caused defendant William Lynch's attorney, Paul Harris, to threaten to file perjury charges against the 67-year-old ex-priest.

Lindner took the witness stand on the first day of Lynch's trial and was questioned by prosecutor Vicki Gemetti about the assault on the afternoon of May 10, 2010 at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos.

"Did you molest the defendant and his brother?" Gemetti asked during the high-profile case in Department 34 of the San Jose Hall of Justice. Lindner answered: "No." The testimony came after Gemetti asked Lindner what Lynch told him when they met in a parlor at the center.

The gray-haired mustached and spectacled Lindner, wearing a light blue shirt and khaki pants, said he remembered Lynch asking him in a "strident" tone if he recognized him. 

After answering in the negative, he said Lynch walked up to him, told him to remove his glasses and then hit him on the left side of his head with his fist.

"It was a very vicious blow. It was a major impact. I was stunned," Lindner said. "I was shocked and surprised ... it hurt."

He said he tried to block the blows and started yelling and calling for help. He said he was hit in his right wrist as he was trying to protect himself and was also hit on his left eye and in "numerous places."

Lindner said Lynch identified himself by another name. 

Lindner has lived at the center since August 2002 and stopped ministering and celebrating Mass in 1997 due to accusations of sexual abuse from Lynch and his brother. 

Also taking the stand Wednesday was retired center receptionist Carol Santos, who testified Lynch visited the center and said he wanted to see Lindner. Santos then walked in on them after she heard Lindner's cries for help.

Santos said she opened the door and found Lynch beating up Lindner. She called 911.

Harris has told media he's not contending the assault took place between Lindner and Lynch. He said what he wants to prove is that his client's motives were not vigilantism, but frustration with a system that had failed to give him justice for what the priest had done.

"He went everywhere telling the story of what happened to him and tried to get somebody to listen ... nobody did. He was worried and desperate that this man (Lindner) was out there teaching young people probably doing the same thing to them that he did to him," Harris said.

Harris said that's the reason in the late 1990s Lynch and his brother hired an attorney and filed a civil lawsuit against the Catholic Church, reaching a $625,000 out of court settlement. The agreement, he said, required Lindner to admit to what he had done, apologize to the victims, be removed from teaching and be monitored at all times.

However, Harris said, the system let Lynch down when Lindner continued to teach. In depositions taken of Lindner in 1998 and 2005, he denied he had molested Lynch and his brother. 

"His credibility is very much at play in this case," Harris said.

On Thursday, Lindner is expected to take the stand again, followed by other witnesses called by the prosecution, including those who claim Lindner sexually abused them.

Joni Holland June 21, 2012 at 02:20 AM
Jeez, this is soo sad. Hmm..'defrocked' priest- why? Throw the victim/victims a bone here. Own it and let them move on. This is sickening.
Sheila Sanchez (Editor) June 21, 2012 at 02:33 AM
He admitted on the stand something Sacred Heart Jesuit Center officials told Los Gatos Patch last year—that Jerold Lindner was prohibited in 1997 from celebrating Mass, and other ministerial duties related to the Roman Catholic priesthood. That's the year William Lynch and his brothers accused him of molesting them and others.
Mike Calahan June 21, 2012 at 03:37 AM
So, the church knowingly allowed Lindner to continue to teach? Who exactly was he teaching? Why wasn't he ever just kicked to the curb? That's crazy.
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz June 21, 2012 at 04:43 AM
That's how the Catholic Church rolls. That's why I could never be Catholic...
Kay Goodnow June 21, 2012 at 03:49 PM
That's why I left the RCC, as the result of priest abuse. Even when the pedarists admit guilt, they walk away free due to the Statutes of Limitation which the leadership of the RCC supports (financially).
June Annette June 21, 2012 at 04:55 PM
The trial of Mr. Lynch highlights the gross injustice of statutes of limitations that prevents victims of child abuse from having their day in court while their assailants walk free! To his credit Mr. Lynch, unlike his abuser, is willing to accept the consequences of his actions. Notwithstanding, it is my fervent prayer that the verdict the jury renders and the punishment the judge proscribes will take into account the extraordinary circumstances that drove Mr. Lynch to attack his abuser. “The greatest persecution of the Church today, was born from the sins inside the Church, not outside. The Church needs to answer to justice because forgiveness cannot replace justice.” - Quote: Benedict XVI, May 11, 2010 The words of the pope are found to be both empty and hollow so long as the so-called “princes of the church” . . the pope's operatives .. do all in their power to oppose legislation that would end statutes of limitations relating to the sexual abuse of children. JUSTICE DELAYED is JUSTICE DENIED!
June Annette June 21, 2012 at 04:59 PM
- continued - Victims of childhood abuse are consigned to a lifetime of suffering as this man's harrowing account once more painfully reminds us! The time has come to end statutes of limitation for childhood sexual abuse so that those abused by Roman Catholic clerics can have their long-awaited day in court! There is no time limit to the suffering and pain that victims of childhood sexual abuse endure. Neither should there be a time limit in which victims of this monstrous crime can pursue justice by seeking redress through the courts. My thoughts and prayers are with you Mr. Lynch! May God be pleased to grant you his mercy and right these terrible wrongs!. In solidarity with the Victims of Roman Catholic Clergy Abuse and those who advocate for them JuneAnnette
Judy Jones June 21, 2012 at 05:50 PM
Child predators are very cunning and manipulative. They know every trick on how to groom, threaten, lie, and put the fear of god into their victims and sometimes even their family members. They also appear to do a lot of goods things, they can be very charismatic and you may think they would never harm a child. They have to be this way, in order to not get caught and to continue to abuse. Also, we must stop thinking that because a man is old, that somehow he's automatically safe. It's just irresponsible to endanger kids by assuming an adult is harmless simply because he or she may be losing hair, wearing glasses, using hearing aids or walking with a cane. These can be signs of advancing age, but they are not signs that an individual is safe around kids. It is extremely rare that a child predator has only one victim. Hopefully if anyone has knowledge or may have been harmed by Fr Jerold Lindner, they will contact the police. Also 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, 636-433-2511 snapjudy@gmail.com "Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests" and all clergy.
David Clohessy June 21, 2012 at 06:36 PM
Let’s hope that every person who saw, suspected or suffered clergy sex crimes and cover ups - by Lindner or other Jesuits - will find the courage and strength to speak up, call police, expose wrongdoing, protect kids and start healing. David Clohessy, Director, SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, (7234 Arsenal Street, St. Louis MO 63143), 314 566 9790 cell (SNAPclohessy@aol.com)
Larry Cargnoni June 22, 2012 at 05:53 AM
we are a land of laws, not viligantism....Just like it's against the law for father and brother damn near beating a guy to death for allegedly molesting a young girl, so is it agaist the law for someone wrong for a guy to assault/beat up anyone. In both cases the assalting parties believe they are justified....what's on trial is the alleged beating....take the other charges through other channels...
Kay Goodnow June 22, 2012 at 01:10 PM
Child abuse in any form is against the law. Unfortunately the SOL does not protect the child who is sentenced to a lifetime in hell. It protects the pedarists and their enablers. We are a land where the rich buy and sell our children and grandchildren in "God's" name whenever they choose. We victims are working to protect kids, not predators.
Joey Piscitelli June 22, 2012 at 03:12 PM
Larry-I disagree. We are not in a land of laws. We are in a land of lop-sided laws, contributing to lopsided justice. The imbalance of justice is clearly presented here in this case - where a sociopath serial rapist has never been prosecuted because of the antiquated "statute of limitations" on child sex abuse prosecution. The statute of limitations is the best legal friend to child rapists, especially priests and bishops - who have an unsurmountable record for escaping accountabilty. Joey Piscitelli - SNAP n. Cal. 925-262-3699 Any other victims of this predator can call me

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