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Update: William Lynch Admits Striking Los Gatos Priest

The San Francisco man recounts what he said was his rape and sodomy by Father Jerold Lindner.

The man accused of beating up a priest in Los Gatos more than two years ago admitted Friday he had gone to the Jesuit center, met the cleric and struck him.

"I'm not going to insult the jury, I did," defendant William Lynch said when asked if he hit Father Jerold Lindner.

What followed was highly emotional, disturbing, and graphic testimony by Lynch, who is charged with felony assault and elder abuse of the priest. If convicted, Lynch faces up to four years in prison.

Under questioning from defense attorney Paul Mones, Lynch testified that Lindner raped and sodomized him and his younger brother when they were ages 7 and 4 while on camping trips in the mid-70s to Portola Redwoods State Park.

Lynch said the priest pitched a tent away from other families on one camping trip which Lynch's parents and two younger siblings also joined. The defendant described how Lindner inappropriately touched him, pulled him toward him, and rubbed against him. Lynch testified that he tried to fight off the priest, but Lindner pushed Lynch's head down, pulled out his penis and forced it into the boy's mouth.

"He became sort of non-human to me ... His eyes were full of hate and rage ... I couldn't breathe and I don't know if I disassociated or passed out," Lynch said.

He then remembered waking up and Lindner being on top of him, he said. "He was very angry and his face was red and he had his hands around my throat and he was strangling and pushing me ...".

"I thought he was going to kill me," Lynch said, crying and his voice quivering. "I remember feeling like I was completely alone ... and that I had ceased to exist as a person."

After he was raped and sodomized, Lynch said Lindner cleaned him up and left him to deal with the shock. He said he kept the assault secret because Lindner threatened to kill his family.

In another incident, he said Lindner called him into his tent with the threat he would hurt his brother. When Lynch entered, his brother was already there. To protect his sibling, Lynch said he put himself between Lindner and his brother. But Lynch claimed the priest made him and his brother inappropriately touch themselves and have oral sex with each other.

Lynch's emotional testimony was punctuated by silent pauses and tears streaming down his face.

Some spectators, including others who claim that Lindner abused them as children, sobbed as they listened to Lynch's testimony.

Lynch said he told his brother he thought Lindner was crazy and that they could not tell anybody or he would kill their family. "We just put that away," he said.

During his teenage and young adult years, Lynch said he didn't like how he felt. He said he experienced fear, shame and guilt. "To just be present in my body and in my consciousness was nothing but discomfort for me," he said.

For years after that, he said he found ways to numb his feelings by living recklessly; he said he didn't have any regard for his life.

"Father Jerry just broke me ... ," Lynch said, sobbing.

Lynch, 44, was born in Mountain View and graduated from Los Altos High School. He attended San Diego State University where he obtained a degree in liberal arts and holds a master's degree in international business from St. Mary's College in Moraga.

Now unemployed, Lynch also said he mainly worked in commercial real estate. His family went to a congregational church and his mother was a Baptist, but he was baptized a Catholic.

It was his father's co-worker who invited the family to the camping trips held by Lindner's Christian family group, he said.

He testified that Lindner stayed with the group through the camping trips and would say Mass on Sunday.

"Father Jerry," as he and others called the priest, was always around children, Lynch said. Lindner was well liked and trusted by the families who attended the camping trips and would tell kids stories, hold them on his lap and take them on hikes, Lynch said.

The collar-wearing priest made Lynch uncomfortable when he would pull him on his lap. He said he tried to avoid Lindner, but had a hard time getting away from him. The priest would dig his fingers into him when he would try to escape and hurt him, he testified.

Lynch said years after the alleged abuse, he was bothered that Lindner was free and worried about the priest being near children. Around 1994, when Lynch was about 27 years old, he learned his brother had told his parents about the molestation. He later confessed the same to them.

"I just didn't want to deal with the reality of it. I had been pushing it away my entire life and now it was up in my face," he said. "I was angry. All this stuff was coming up to a head."

He said his brother asked him not to do anything. But after a few years of being unable to sleep at night, Lynch tried to get criminal charges filed against the priest by contacting several law enforcement agencies. 

He said he contacted the Los Altos Police Department, Santa Clara County Sheriff's Department, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office, the Alameda County Sheriff's Department and the Oakland Police Department because he believed the priest was a member of the Catholic Diocese of Oakland. But by then, the statute of limitations for the abuse had run out.

"No one would help me. It made me feel hurt. It made me feel invalidated. It made me feel frustrated ... because the system that failed me when I was a kid was now failing me as an adult and it just didn't make sense to me that with someone out there who was perpetrating this stuff against children that they wouldn't want to do something about it."

After law enforcement agencies were not able to help, he said and his brother filed a civil lawsuit against the Jesuit Order, receiving $625,000 in a 1998 confidential settlement.

However, he said, stipulations in the settlement to protect society from the priest were omitted.

He said the brothers wanted Lindner to apologize for what he had done. They wanted to be made aware of where the priest was at all times to protect themselves and others and they wanted the priest to stay away from children. They also wanted to have the priest defrocked but not be excommunicated so that he would remain the responsibility of the Catholic Church.

Lynch also said they wanted no gag order that would stop them from speaking about what had happened and if the church knew of others abused by Lindner, the agreement would be void and they could pursue legal action again.

Under cross-examination, prosecutor Vicki Gemetti acknowledged as she did in opening statements that the abuse did in fact take place and affected Lynch's life. "You're angry today ... you've been angry about this for a very long time," she said, to which Lynch replied, "Among other things."

Lynch said he could keep his anger in check.

"But you hate Jerry Lindner," she said. To which he responded: "Actually, I don't."

He said the confrontation with the priest on May 10, 2010 helped him deal with the pain of the abuse, made him feel empowered, gave him a voice, and brought him some peace.

"You wanted to see Jerry Lindner hurt the way you hurt?" Gemetti asked. "Yes," he answered.

Gemetti then showed Lynch a picture of the injured priest after the assault. "You did that to him, right?" she asked. "Correct," he answered, adding it didn't feel good.

She then asked if Lynch wanted to plead guilty to the charges. 

"I believe under the circumstances that I shouldn't be guilty," he said. "It's difficult to find justice in this situation with regard to the victims." 

To challenge his credibility, Gemetti questioned Lynch at length about his fruitless attempts to get law enforcement authorities to act on the abuse. The prosecutor asked why in 2002, when contacted by a Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy about Lindner's alleged sexual improprieties with numerous victims, he refused to help him with the investigation. Lynch said he declined because the agencies failed to help him earlier.

Defense attorneys asked Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge David Cena to subpoena Lindner to testify. However, the judge denied that request, saying the priest's testimony had been stricken and he had invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

Lindner's attorney Joe Wall Jr. also objected to the subpoena on the grounds that anything his client would say could cause the DA's office to prosecute his client for perjury. The priest has denied molesting Lynch and his brother.

Alison June 29, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Gemetti says what Lynch did was a"selfish act." She certainly doesn't have all of Lindner's other victims in mind when she said that. She needs to be reported to the Bar for hiding evidence about what Lindner told her in their meeting on May 29th and DA Jeff Rosen needs to be voted out of office.
Virginia Fiorentino June 30, 2012 at 12:05 AM
Please please find this dear man innocent. What a tragedy to a child who became a handsome man. He deserves to be revered rather than punished!!!! I hope that he is found innocent. I also think that there should be NO statute of limitations on abuse to children especially by priests.
Judy Jones June 30, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Information about Lindner http://bishop-accountability.org/priestdb/PriestDBbylastName-L.html
David Pepperdine June 30, 2012 at 12:53 AM
My heart goes out to this brave human being and hero. I have tears in my eyes every time I think about his history. If he goes to jail, there will be thousands like me willing to join him in solidarity. His predator, Lindner, should be sent to jail forever.
LoyolaAlum June 30, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Does anyone know cause of earlier fire where Fr. Lindner lives. These senior citizens also have to live in the same facility as the alleged pedophile priest, Jerold Lindner. Are there other lapses in safety at this Jesuit facility which houses retired Jesuits who taught many of us in high school and college. Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Fire Damaged Fire scorches [Los Gatos] Sacred Heart Jesuit Center By Javier Erik Olvera Mercury News 10/27/2007 Eight senior citizens were forced from their senior care rooms after an early morning blaze damaged three floors at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos. Santa Clara County firefighters contained the fire to one third-floor unit, but not before water seeped through the ceiling and walls to damage surrounding units. No one was injured in the 2 a.m. fire, but the eight residents of the damaged units were temporarily moved into open rooms at the facility, a retirement home that houses 75 men - average age 80 years old. Some of the affected residents - those who specifically suffer from medical issues and need constant care - may have to be moved to another senior care facility. "It's horrible, but this is a large place and it could have been catastrophic," said Father Al Naucke, second in charge of the Jesuit region that includes California. Investigators this afternoon were still trying to pinpoint the cause of the 2 a.m. fire as well as determine the amount of damage, which could exceed six-figures, Naucke said.
Joni Holland June 30, 2012 at 01:27 AM
I am in TOTAL agreement with all the comments above. Give this man justice and peace.
Jay Gee June 30, 2012 at 01:30 AM
This is a clear case where "Jury Nullification" would be the appropriate verdict. I find it appalling that the Attorneys & Judge are not allowed to inform The Jury that "Jury Nullification" is a valid option for them to select. If you don't already know what "Jury Nullification" is, I suggest you Google it. Will Lynch should not serve a single moment in jail (& Father Jerry should be in hell for eternity). Moments after the rape/sodomy, Father Jerry allegedly told the 4 & 7 year old boys that they were "no longer children of God" and that they were "dirty." The wrong man is on trial...
Ellen Simon Pifer June 30, 2012 at 02:35 AM
This "priest" and pedophile lives a block from Los Gatos Elementary school!!!!!! A sound beating was insufficient punishment for his crimes --which have hurt so many innocent children. The wrong man is on trial. Statute of limitation on child abuse?! That's absurd.
LoyolaAlum June 30, 2012 at 04:54 AM
Perhaps Fr. Lindner is a favored priest in the Jesuit Order. At the trial it was stated that Fr. Alfred Naucke came to see Fr. Lindner shortly after he was punched. Fr. Naucke is the second highest Jesuit in California. Fr. Naucke earlier told the Survivors Network (SNAP) that he taught Latin to Fr. Lindner at Jesuit Brophy High School back in 1962. On the other hand Fr. Naucke said that Good Friday 2004 would seem to be a fine day on which to clarify Fr. James Chevedden’s status. Fr. Chevedden died the next month on his 56th birthday by suicide or staged suicide. Fr. Lindner was the last Jesuit to see Fr. Chevedden alive.
Alison June 30, 2012 at 12:23 PM
Will Lynch is a hero. The prosecutor Vicki Gemetti said that what Lynch did "was a selfish act." Huh? Wasn't what the priest did - raping seven year old Lynch and his four year old brother and countless other victims "selfish?" Wasn't it "selfish" of Lindner to lie on the stand to say he didn't molest kids- to save his own behind?
Larry Cargnoni June 30, 2012 at 08:22 PM
Perhaps the priest abused Mr. Lynch. Perhaps not. The priest is not on trial. Just because there may be motivation does not mean that one should not be held accountable for one's actions and for breaking the law. The trial appears to be an expensive therapy session for Mr. Lynch.
Alison June 30, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Mr Cargnoni: Perhaps you have not read up on the case? Are you aware that the Jesuits have paid out MILLIONS to Lindner's many victims? Are you aware that they sent him away for treatment for his pedophilia ? Are you aware that the priest's own brother, Larry Lindner, a cop, filed an abuse complaint against Lindner for raping his own son and daughter. Please educate yourself about this case. There's lots and lots out there. There's a huge file on Lindner at the Catholic Church.
Julie Long June 30, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Larry, please pull your head out of your ass and do some research you ignorant fool.
Julie Long June 30, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Will Lynch is nothing short of what it takes to be a true HERO. If it were me, that child rapist would be in Hell where he deserves to spend the rest of eternity.
Tina July 01, 2012 at 12:01 AM
"Perhaps not"????? Are you freaking serious?
Jeff Simrin July 01, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Hey Larry, perhaps you should place the blame on the Catholic Church for this "expensive therapy", afterall they must be able to afford it as the total value of sexual abuse settlements in the United States is well over $3 billion. That is expensive Larry. So until you have walked a mile in their shoes, "Perhaps" you should just keep your mouth shut.
Jeff Simrin July 01, 2012 at 02:26 AM
I am speechless. The volume of sexual misconduct cases and the number of priest offenders is horriffic! As shocking as Will Lynch's case is......it is literally a drop in the ocean. I am absolutely sickened by that website.....I had no idea this problem was this rampant and widespread. http://bishop-accountability.org/priestdb/PriestDBbylastName-L.html
Jeff July 01, 2012 at 02:44 AM
Will is without a doubt, a hero ! As a survivor of abuse myself, I can certainly understand his frustration with the lack of help that you get from our so-called legal system which is absolutely worthless to the victims. Although my abuser was not a priest, but rather he was a scoutmaster in the boy scouts....The Catholic church is the reason for the 6 year statute of limitations in the first place, the Stogner ruling is what put it into place. If we can get that worthless ruling reversed, then more pedophiles will have to face the public and pay the price for their hideous crimes. As for you Larry, you need to get a clue and get educated on the case before you spout-off.
Julie Long July 01, 2012 at 04:13 AM
Jeff. My heart goes out to you and the thousands of young children who went through what I believe is the absolute WORST criminal act of all, child rape/sexual abuse/molestation. At least with murder, a person does not have to live a life sentence of horror. I'm sickened by the Catholic Church and the rapists disguised as these Holy servants of God. If there is a God, how on Earth does a serial rapist of many young children, his own sister, nieces/nephews get away with such heinious acts, not serve a day in jail, continue to receive a pension while living on a winery in beautiful Los Gatos?!!!? WTF is our world coming to.
Se Park July 01, 2012 at 04:26 PM
The details of Will and his baby brother's abuse at the hands of Lindner make me shake and cry. Only a monster would do this to a 4 year old!! Religious leaders need to get off their butts and start listening to God and get rid of pedophiles!! They need to realize that these monsters were put in the Church by the devil and they must be excommunicated. Only then can people put their trust back in the Church. Mr. Lynch and his brother, if you're reading this, I pray that you can move forward from this. Kudos to you for being brave and trying to get justice.
kim harrison July 02, 2012 at 06:19 AM
Im seriously so moved by this man's story. He is amazing and so brave to talk about what happened to him. I was molested by my adoptive dad and I'm 33 years old and still have issues. As for the assault charges the law is the law. I think there should be a special defense like heat of passion AND I would definitely support a movement to extend the statute of limitations. I really hope the jury acquits and will be praying.
Frank Welker July 03, 2012 at 04:41 AM
this guy is no hero..he is a vigilante..i doubt he was "raped." think about his story..he goes camping and when he gets home and his rear end is damaged he hides this from his parents..i think he made the whole thing up. really? think of the physics here.. possible there was some incident that incited him..but i really doubt his story..especially 40 years later. and anyone who goes into a nursing facility and beats on an old person is no hero, regardless of the circumstances.. we'll see if the jury is as gullable as you folks are..
MaryMMill July 03, 2012 at 07:22 AM
He's been at it for 45 years. LA times article, 2002.... sickening. http://articles.latimes.com/2002/dec/14/local/me-priest14
Alison July 03, 2012 at 12:02 PM
Um, Frank Welker, hello? Are you aware that the Jesuits have paid out MILLIONS to victims of Lindner over the years and was sent away to treatment for pedophilia? Are you aware that Lindner's own brother - a COP-filed a complaint that Lindner had molested his own children? Are you aware that Lindner's own niece was raped? Have you even BOTHERED to read any of the news stories about this guy? Are you aware that the prosecutor said at the trial that he was a molester. Sure wish people would read news stories on this. It's not a nursing facility- it's a place where they put mostly priests who've been pedophiles. Lindner is only 68 years old- same age as Jerry Sandusky, He's indepedent, travels and drives on his own. He's no doddering old man.
Luna July 05, 2012 at 07:31 AM
Will Lynch is a hero! Lindner I hope you burn in HELL where you belong.
LoyolaAlum July 05, 2012 at 02:48 PM
#2 CA Jesuit interested in Lindner's welfare. Fr. Alfred Naucke 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. Naucke has known Lindner for 50 years. A gang of as many as 5 Los Gatos Jesuits allegedly abused the dishwashers. Br. Charles Connor may have been the first Jesuit to abuse the dishwashers. Connor and Lindner were friends.
Kimmi July 05, 2012 at 02:52 PM
how much contact do the pedophiles up at the winery have to the general public in Los Gatos? Are parents aware of who they are/where they are? Are they around the winery? Is there a financial interest shared by the winery and the 'retirement home'? How can I keep my children away from these monsters if they are out and about in our community here? Have residents of LG known this is the pervert camp of the Catholic Church? I just moved here and had no idea....gives me the creeps. Can we get their pics out so parents know who we're dealing with?
Alison July 05, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Robin Sax, the legal analyst at My Fox News in LA, reports that there are 18 schools that are very close to the "retirement home."http://www.myfoxla.com/story/18950623/robin-sax-and-radio-talk-show-host-bill-carroll-discuss-the
Alison July 05, 2012 at 07:09 PM
The Ayres blog agrees with Robin Sax's assessment that this case should not have gone to trial: http://williamayreswatch.blogspot.com/2012/07/robin-sax-commentary-on-lynch-trial.html?showComment=1341500871651#c8959454057741307053
linda July 10, 2012 at 02:53 PM
I have been a catholic for 63 years.We have had 5 priest in our small parish that havebeen molesters. I have finally taken my blinders off.I now blame the people for letting this happen and paying for it every Sunday.I think we were all brain washed in catholic school. Please go to bad priest.com and see how many hundreds of priest are on the web.My 5 are sure on there and pictures of them.

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