Updated: Jury Acquits William Lynch of Priest Beating

Accused of beating a priest in Los Gatos, Lynch was found not guilty on charges of felony assault and elder abuse. The jury hangs on a lesser misdemeanor charge.

A jury has acquitted a San Francisco man accused of beating a priest at the in May 2010.

On Thursday afternoon, the panel found William Lynch, 44, not guilty

The jury hung 8-4 on a lesser misdemeanor crime of an assault on Father Jerold Lindner and it's not clear if the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office will refile charges related to that lesser offense or appeal.

Outside the San Jose Hall of Justice, Lynch said he was happy with the verdict and surprised by the outcome of the highly emotional trial.

Lynch claimed on the witness stand that Lindner had raped and sodomized both he and his brother while they were young children in the 1970's.  His testimony was thrown out after defense attorneys called for a mistrial, saying the cleric had perjured himself.

"We've accomplished so much more," he said. "I wanted to bring attention to the issue of child sexual abuse. I wanted to bring Father Jerry into the light and careened the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center as the rapist resort."

Lynch said he hopes the DA's office will prosecute Lindner for perjury. According to several Lynch supporters, the Jesuit Order - where Lindner is a member - has paid out millions of dollars in out-of-court settlements to other alleged victims.

According to the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, more than a dozen people have accused Lindner of sexually abusing them. Lynch and his brother filed a civil lawsuit in 1998 and received a $625,000 settlement.

"After all these years and all the lives he's destroyed and the collateral damage that he's done that's been exponential ... the system [is broken] the statute of limitations is the monkey wrench in the machine," Lynch said, referring to how authorities can't prosecute sexual abuse after a certain number of years pass after an offense is committed.

Lynch said he hoped victims and supporters would come forward to push for a change to the statute of limitations issue. He also said he would start a nonprofit group to work on changing the system that would allow for the  prosecution of child molesters regardless of when the offenses took place.

He also advised victims to not take matters into their own hands, as he did, when he openly admitted during his testimony he was indeed the man who had walked into the Jesuit Center in Los Gatos on May 10, 2010 and punched the priest in the head and confronted him about the abuse.

"I would do something different," he said, when asked what advice he would give other victims of sexual abuse at the hands of clergy. "I want to create a support system for people who find themselves in the ... gray area that I was in. It's almost as if I'm complicit in a crime because I know what's happened, I know about the cover-up and that Father Jerry is out there hurting people and that's what motivated me, but like I said ... me doing what I did is just perpetuating the cycle."

In an earlier news conference, Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen, accompanied by prosecutor Vicki Gemetti, said the case, although trying to find Lynch responsible for assaulting the priest, was also about bringing just punishment to sexual abuse crimes.

"This District Attorney's Office has worked tirelessly and vigorously in bringing child molesters to justice," Rosen said. "I have personally prosecuted dozens of rapists, child molesters and I understand the yearning for justice and ... punishment for those who have molested and abused children."

Rosen said that's why his office has a special unit to prosecute such crimes every year. "Because we know that sometimes child molestation victims take years to come forward and tell about the awful things that happened to them, we have also worked to adopt legislation that addressed the statute of limitations."

Rosen's chief assistant, Jay Boyarsky is working to further legislative efforts to change the statute of limitations for child molestation cases, he said.

Rosen indicated ultimately the case was about the people of Santa Clara County. "Justice takes place in the courthouse behind me. In a courtroom of law with jurors, prosecutors and judges and rules of evidence. And justice is delivered through our justice system," he said, commending Gemetti for her work in prosecuting the case and denouncing what he called were unfounded, inaccurate and untrue personal attacks on the prosecutor.

"Justice is decided by you, by the jury in our county, and while I certainly understand the feelings of those that may be happy with this particular result, for myself, while I certainly understand and respect the jury's verdict on this case, I'm disappointed," Rosen added.

The county's top prosecutor said his office filed the charges against Lynch and understood the extent of the circumstances related to the two charges. "In our office we seek justice for everyone in our community, for all victims no matter who they are," he said.

Rosen said his office would carefully review the jury's decision and he'll try to speak to some of the jurors and then decide if he will retry the misdemeanor assault offense on which the panel deadlocked.

Asked if the jury's verdict represented a loss to his office, Rosen said anytime a criminal act is investigated, as was the assault of Lynch on Lindner, it's not disappointing to either win or lose as the process represents how the criminal justice system works in the county. "I respect it and uphold it [the verdict]," he noted.

Rosen said the standard of proof in any case is the stipulation of a fact being beyond a reasonable doubt, and explained that even though some may think his office overcharged Lynch with the higher crimes, Gemetti had charged him for what he did. "Here, where we had someone who more than 35 years after a terrible thing happened ... a thing that should have never happened ... drove 50 miles, gave a fake name, beating and bloodying someone, that's not justice within the law. That's revenge," he said.

As the county's top legal watchdog, he said it was his obligation to uphold the rule of law. "That's what we did in this case. The jury's verdict is the jury's verdict is. Our responsibility in the DA's office is to provide public safety by upholding the law."

Mike July 06, 2012 at 01:57 AM
Justice worked for Mr. Lynch. But, he will never regain his innocence...As for the cycle of pedophilia to be curved, the statute of limitations for child molestation case should be changed soon. I do not advocate violence or vengeance, certainly there should be much larger damage awards to the victims, in order to break the back of those individuals and institutions behind child molestation coverups.
David A. Combs July 06, 2012 at 04:52 AM
Alison, this what I was trying to say but forgot who to report violations to. Also, your thought about contacting the Northern California Innocence Project makes sense too. There should also be something about the judge who allowed the prosecutor to use this tactic. what is this called, judicial misconduct? Anyway, good thoughts, even if the chances of anybody following through with complaints is doubtful/
Alison July 06, 2012 at 10:52 AM
David A. Combs: Any complaints about the judge should be sent in writing to the California Commission on Judicial Performance. They have a website. They have good investigators and are very responsive to complaints.
LoyolaAlum July 06, 2012 at 03:25 PM
Please check the "Legacy of Pain" article about Lindner at Abuse Tracker: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/AbuseTracker/
LoyolaAlum July 06, 2012 at 03:41 PM
In regard to "In our office we seek justice for everyone in our community, for all victims no matter who they are," it seems the DA office could not have cared less when a person on jury duty at the Hedding Street Courthouse died 5 minutes after he was dismissed for the day. The DA office was given information at the time to seemingly make it worthwhile to at least question Fr. Lindner in regard to this sudden death of a person on jury duty.
Alison July 06, 2012 at 05:12 PM
July 6, 2012 CA - Jesuits & Catholic officials must act on Lindner, SNAP says CALIFORNIA Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests Posted by Joelle Casteix on July 06, 2012 After yesterday's Bay Area jury verdict, now attention rightfully shifts from William Lynch to the prosecutor and Catholic officials. The prosecutor should file perjury charges against Fr. Lindner. San Jose Bishop Patrick McGrath should insist that the Jesuits move Fr. Lindner out of his diocese. And the Jesuits should, at a bare minimum, put Fr. Lindner to a remote, secure, independently-run treatment center not run by the church. (He's now at a Jesuit facility in Los Gatos where the LA Times says "he is free to travel and tutor seminarians and has collected a living allowance from the order.") They should also publicly discipline and denounce him. The Catholic hierarchy now knows Fr. Lindner is both a serial child molester and a perjurer. (Even Fr. Lindner's mom, in today's LA Times, says she's convinced he's a child molester.)
Larry Cargnoni July 06, 2012 at 08:51 PM
Bottom line: Lynch wanted to be a hero....and he got his wish....the judge is culpable in this case and never should have allowed any line of questioning to put Lindler at risk....and the DA screwed up because he should have prepped Lindler better and should have taken the 5th from the start....Vigilante justice is dangerous and Santa Clara county just set a precedent that it's OK....The speculation/fact that Lindler did something a long time ago is immaterial to the fact that Lynch beat up an old man and should be convicted, regardless of motivation. The jury had no fortitude and failed.
Larry Arzie July 06, 2012 at 09:42 PM
I think the judge has the right to refuse the verdict. Possibly he can toss it out and work out a deal that will allow Lynch to go free and the D.A. not to further prosecute. This would end the precedent and save face all around. Lynch has accomplished what he set out to do, lets end this.
David A. Combs July 06, 2012 at 11:22 PM
I agree with Mr. Cargnoni in the judge is culpable and the DA is guilty of misconduct. What the DA did was a calculated move to get Linder's testimoney to the jury while preventing the defense's cross examination. the judge instructs the jury to disregard the testimony, well you cannot unring a bell. This tactic is no different from prosecutors forcing individuals to testify even after they invoke their 5th Ammendment Rifghts Against Self Incrimination. the tactic used is to force the individual to testify by granting Use Immunity and if the individual still refuses to testify he/she is held in contempt of court and jailed, at times with friends of people they would be testifying against. I realize I have very extreme views, but I think pedophiles should be taken out and publically casterated, have the capital letter "P" branded on their forehead and then incarcerated with the general population in any of the major prisons. It would not stop pedophiles from hurting children, but you can believe they would certainly think twice about there sickness. Some will say this would be cruel and unusual punishment. I disagree. This would not be anywhere near the cruelity they perpetrated upon their victims. And, if it takes punishment similar to this to get the attention of future pedophiles, then so be it.
Alison July 07, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Mr Cargoni is a known apologist for Lindner. Hitting someone two times is not going to cause people to go wild on the streets. And Mr. Cargoni, for whatever bizarre reasons, keeps defending the pedophile- ignores the fact that seventeen other victims have come forward- including his own niece. Lindner's brother- a cop- filed a complaint that Lindner had molested his children.
Alison July 07, 2012 at 12:37 AM
PS Mr Cargoni: You also keep ignoring the fact that Lindner was only 65 when he was hit. What's worse- being raped when you were seven, or hitting a 65 year old fit man twice? Methinks you are older than Lindner. The reasons you keep defending him are known only to you, but many are bothered by it.
David A. Combs July 07, 2012 at 02:49 AM
I wonder when the refiling of charges and the new trial is going to happen?
Sheila Sanchez (Editor) July 07, 2012 at 03:12 AM
Hi David, you mean the possibility that the DA may charge Father Jerold Lindner with perjury or William Lynch's possible retrial on the lesser offense of misdemeanor assault, for which the jury deadlocked? On Thursday, Jeff Rosen told the media he would speak to jurors, review all the testimony and decide what's next, which could be nothing. Good questions, though. Thanks for the comment.
Joni Holland July 07, 2012 at 03:30 AM
I'm sooo glad !!! Restores my belief in the inate humanity of man!!!
SJUG July 07, 2012 at 03:34 AM
I would like to thank Patch, the reporters and Ms. Sanchez for their excellent coverage of the case and the issues raised within it, as well as for providing a forum for the community to discuss the matters involved. Hopefully, they will continue to explore the Jesuits who have placed our children at risk, the Santa Clara DA and other Jesuit perpetrators at Los Gatos and in other hiding places in the Bay Area.
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz July 07, 2012 at 05:02 AM
Sheila, does a great job in keeping all of us in the know! Thanks for your hard Work!
Alison July 07, 2012 at 10:57 AM
David Combs: Lindner WON"T cooperate with the DA's office again, even if they decide to retry Lynch, which they won't. Without his testimony, there is no case. And with the majority of Americans agreeing with the verdict, Rosen would be committing political suicide and wasting money on this. However, victims' groups are asking that Rosen consider trying Lindner for perjury. He is considering this: http://www.mercurynews.com/los-gatos/ci_21024016/will-lynch-supporters-call-da-prosecute-priest-perjury
Alison July 07, 2012 at 01:33 PM
Jeff Rosen's office seems tone deaf on emotional responses of people. When a prosecutor refers to Lynch's hitting a priest "a selfish act", you know the DA's office needs to start teaching their prosecutors to look at cases in a more three dimensional way, which includes human nature. Their failure to understand the impact of Lynch's powerful video and testimony on the jury was HUGE and very myopic. Did Rosen's office really think after seeing a man cry about being raped at age seven and not being able to protect his four year old brother from Lindner, the jury would NOT have a powerful emotional response. For Gemetti to ask the jury in this case not to be swayed by the emotional testimony of a man who was raped as a boy was just nuts.. Impossible to separate the two. They need to do some major soul searching over at that office.. Or I could see Rosen being voted out in the next election.
Alison July 07, 2012 at 01:52 PM
Also, the irony of this is that in sex abuse cases, Rosen's office, like other DA's office COUNTS on playing to the emotions of jurors by showing photos of victims at the age they were molested when they were a child. I find it be bizarre, and frankly ill-calculated for them to object to having Lynch's lawyers show Will's photo at age seven for any length of time to the jury, Rosen's office was acting like the defense team; Lynch's team was acting like prosecutors.
LoyolaAlum July 07, 2012 at 04:24 PM
The San Jose Police gave special treatment to Jerold Lindner and the Jesuit Order apparently. When a person on jury duty some time ago at the Hedding Street Courthouse died 5 minutes after he was dismissed for the day, Lindner should have at least been questioned and/or eliminated as a suspect. Lindner apparently had negative contact with the deceased person just hours before his death – but Lindner was never even questioned. When a person dies unexpectedly, it is a usual police practice to interview those who were with the deceased person on the day of death. In this instance the police appear to have questioned only one such person in their “investigation” – and it was not Lindner. Plus the deceased person had reported that he was a victim of a registered sex offender who was a friend of Lindner.
LoyolaAlum July 07, 2012 at 10:46 PM
Lindner had a scout troop and a house for homeless boys Extract from Media Monents July 6, 2012 | Author: Jerry Berger Yesterday, after an unusual trial, a California jury found William Lynch not guilty of beating up Jesuit priest, Fr. Jerold Lindner. Lynch and nine others say Lindner molested them as kids. In the 1970s, Lindner studied at SLU, helped with a Scout troop here and set up a house for homeless boys. Until now, his time in St. Louis hasn’t been publicly disclosed.
Alison July 07, 2012 at 11:36 PM
LoyalAlum: Ugh, thanks for the info about his time in St. Louis: http://bergersbeat.com/ If any victims of Lindner are reading this who have not come forward to law enforcement, we urge you to do so now.
LoyolaAlum July 08, 2012 at 04:24 AM
Regarding Fr. Lindner and the Boy Scouts, “Sacrilege, Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church” by Leon J. Podles, cited a number of examples of credibly-charged Catholic priest sex abusers being active in the Boy Scouts. Lindner was active with the Boy Scouts for possibly as long as 5 decades. Lindner joined the Boy Scouts in the 1950s and had a troop of 75 Boy Scouts in 1962 when he was only 18. In 1969, the Jesuit Order sent Lindner to earn a master's degree in English at St. Louis University in Missouri, where he was active in an urban Boy Scout troop. Lindner returned to St. Ignatius and taught English there from 1976 to 1982. He was also Scoutmaster for an Oakland troop and accompanied boys on weekend camping and ski trips. During at least part of his 1982 - 1997 Loyola High School, Los Angeles tenure Lindner served as an assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 1193 at St. Thomas the Apostle Church, 4-miles southwest of downtown Los Angeles. It included mostly lower-income Puerto Rican boys. Lindner advanced to be the Boy Scout Chaplain for the Catholic Committee on Scouting, Los Angles Area Council in 1994.
Cornelius July 08, 2012 at 05:34 AM
I am so happy for you, Will! You are an amazing person and stayed strong throughout all of this. As said before, you are a true hero!!!
Cornelius July 08, 2012 at 05:37 AM
...and it is so nice to see you smile like this!
LoyolaAlum July 08, 2012 at 04:07 PM
Fr. Alfred Naucke may be Fr. Lindner’s mentor Fr. Alfred Naucke, the #2 California Jesuit with an office in Los Gatos and who has known the alleged pedophile Lindner for 50 years, said he was interested in Lindner's welfare. This was in his deposition in the disabled dishwashers abuse case that the Jesuit Order settled for $7 million. Fr. Naucke does not seem to be a champion for preventing sex abuse. The Jesuits were notified by Fr. Naucke, the Socius of the California Jesuit Province, that the since convicted pedophile Jesuit Fr. Donald McGuire may be the legal guardian of 14 year old John Doe 116, and that they were going to be living together (6/1/2000). At that time, John Doe 116 was basically living at Canisius House when he was not at school. The Jesuits did not investigate other than to ask McGuire several months later whether he is the legal guardian which McGuire denies. The Jesuits consider McGuire assuming a legal obligation to be a “serious situation,” but remarkably claim that they were not concerned about whether John Doe 116 was spending time alone with and being abused by McGuire. At the time, John Doe was being abused by McGuire on an almost daily basis. Source of above paragraph: http://www.andersonadvocates.com/Files/347/70-never-released-documents-reveal-extent-of--cover-up-from-1960’s-through-2007pdf
Alison July 09, 2012 at 11:15 AM
Here's the most recent CNN video of Will and his lawyer together. Interviewer is Don Lemon. Much better interview than one with Ashleigh Banfield. Will talks about his new non profit: http://www.cnn.com/video/#/video/bestoftv/2012/07/08/exp-will-lynch.cnn
Alison July 09, 2012 at 01:55 PM
New York Times editorial today calling for reform of statute of limitations in sex abuse cases. New Jersey has already abolished the statute of limitations in all criminal cases! http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/09/opinion/cover-ups-justice-and-reform-in-child-sex-abuse.html?_r=3
LoyolaAlum July 09, 2012 at 02:37 PM
BishopAccountability.org identified 127 abuser Jesuits in the United States who have been accused of sexually abusing minors. That number is certainly a fraction of the true total according to Bishop Accountability: http://www.bishop-accountability.org/docs/jesuits/McGuire_Donald/Punitive_Damages_Motion/
Alison July 10, 2012 at 12:11 PM
Excellent story today in the Chronicle about jury nullification and the Lynch case: http://www.sfgate.com/crime/article/Jury-nullification-can-highlight-the-law-s-flaws-3694716.php Excerpt: The district attorney's office hasn't said whether it will retry Lynch on the deadlocked charge. The author of a book on the jury practice said Monday the entire prosecution was questionable. "When a public jury is saying these aren't cases that are worth trying this way, the prosecutor should be listening," said Houston attorney Clay Conrad, who wrote "Jury Nullification: The Evolution of a Doctrine" in 1998.


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