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William Lynch Begins Nonprofit to Help Sexual Abuse Victims

Less than a week after being acquitted by a jury of felony assault and elder abuse stemming from a confrontation with a Los Gatos priest he says raped him as a boy, San Francisco man begins agency to provide services for sexual abuse victims.

William Lynch, has began a nonprofit organization to help sexual abuse victims.

Speaking to reporters after the not-guilty verdict was read by the jury in Department 34 of the San Jose Hall of Justice the afternoon of July 5, Lynch said he wanted to start an agency that would also help repeal the statute of limitations for sex abuse cases.

Lynch, 44, was acquitted of felony The jury also found him not guilty of misdemeanor elder abuse, but hung 8-4 on the lesser misdemeanor assault charge.

In Lynch's case, although he and his brother brought a civil suit against Father Jerold Lindner in 1998 and settled out of court for $625,000, he was prevented from pursuing criminal charges against the cleric since the alleged abuse was committed in 1975, when he was 7 and his brother was 4.

Lynch's nonprofit is called Roots for Invidividual & Social Enterprise, or RISE. The site says its mission is to "end the cycle of sexual abuse against children." It further states that RISE is a program and foundation for victims of sexual abuse providing health services, legal representation, and community advocacy to promote awareness and policies for social change.

The site also says the organization's purpose is to prevent child sexual abuse and empower children and adults affected by child sexual abuse to live peaceful and productive lives. 

"Over time I have personally spoken with many survivors of sexual abuse. I have discovered that one of the greatest challenges to survivors of sexual abuse is the ability to become economically stable and flourish," Lynch writes on the website.

"As time passes adult victims of sexual abuse face a competitive world in which we often feel ‘behind’ and our choices seem narrow … as we look to the future it often appears that we are far behind. The beginning of ending the cycle of sexual abuse has to start with the survivors gaining emotional and financial independence. It is a real struggle I have seen with others and experienced myself, as we struggle to emerge whole, complete, and transformed. Despite what we have endured, we can become self-realized. This organization is committed to providing assistance to those who need it, can benefit from it, in any way they need to move forward, flourish and transform their lives."

Lynch has pledged to do everything in his power to get the statute of limitations repealed for sex abuse cases.

During a press conference last Thursday, he said when his quest for the truth about the alleged abuse at the hands of the priest began in 1996, the biggest motivating factor for seeking retribution against the cleric and the Jesuit Order was protecting children from sexual abuse.

"Everything I did was predicated on that," Lynch said, encouraging victims to come forward, seek healing and tell their stories. He explained his nonprofit would focus on ending the cycle of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and other "offending organizations."

"You can come forward. You can seek justice and you can find justice in many forms. We need to realize this all begins with the individual coming forward and it has to be survivors leading the way because we're the ones who have experienced the abuse," he said.

Lynch is expected to appear in court Thursday to learn whether the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office will retry him on the charge that the jury deadlocked 8-4 on—simple assault of the priest.

Meanwhile, Lynch's attorney Pat Harris, with the reputable law firm of Geragos & Geragos in Los Angeles, is asking the DA's Office to file perjury charges against Lindner, 67, who testified under oath before prosecutor Vicki Gemetti that he had not molested Lynch and his brother.

During opening statements at the start of the trial, Gemetti told the jury that the priest had indeed molested Lynch and would lie about it on the stand.

Lindner's testimony was stricken from the record by Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge David Cena. Under advice from attorney Joe Wall Jr., Lindner invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and was never cross-examined by the defense.

"They told you he was going to perjure himself. He got on the stand and perjured himself and if this DA's Office, [which] is so fond of talking about the rule of law ... and how in every case the rule of law must be followed, then next week, Jerold Lindner better be in handcuffs in this courthouse," Harris said the day after the verdict was issued.

And two groups that focus on clergy sex crime and cover ups are also urging the DA's Office to file perjury charges against Lindner maintaining he's allegedly molested more than a dozen children, including his sister, three nieces and a nephew.

Leaders of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, and the National Survivors Advocate Coalition are writing Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen, urging him to pursue criminal charges against Lindner, whom both groups believe lied on the witness stand during the trial.

The California Province of Jesuits has settled cases with several of Lindner's victims, including Lynch, and has said publicly that Lindner sexually abused children. The Jesuits also sent Lindner to a church-run facility for child molesting clerics, according to SNAP.

"You prosecuted Will Lynch, knowing full well that it’s unlikely his alleged crime, if not punished, would be repeated by others," says a letter written to Rosen by David Clohessy, executive director of SNAP; Kristine Ward, chairwoman of NSAC; and Barbara Dorris, outreach director of SNAP. "But surely you realize that Fr. Lindner’s alleged crime – perjury – will very likely be repeated by others if Lindner is not punished."

Alison July 10, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Good going, Mr. Lynch! Also, there's an excellent story in the San Francisco Chronicle today about the Lynch trial and jury nullification: 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. ___ Is the Santa Clara DA's office paying attention?
Priscilla Byars July 10, 2012 at 02:45 PM
William Lynch proves that there is indeed some justice in the world. I'm very proud of him; these are great times!
June Annette July 10, 2012 at 03:31 PM
The overzealous prosecution of Will lynch was placed in check and overruled by the jurors who rightly regarded the real victim in these proceedings. The jury has rendered a just and equitable verdict. The law has been (and continues to be) conspicuously overlooked in the case of Jerold Lindner, while in the case of Will Lynch it was egregiously misapplied. The jury has rectified these gross and glaring inequities. Their decision has vindicated him, along with the other victims of Jerold Lindner that he represented by proxy who were denied justice as well. Their verdict has sent a clear and unambiguous message that those who wear clerical collars are not above the law. I call that "poetic justice". Poetic justice defined: n fitting retribution; just deserts. Thanks to the jury members and congratulations to Mr. Lynch's attorneys for their superlative defense of Mr. Lynch. The outcome of the trial that left the prosecution both dumbfounded and confounded and saw Will Lynch emerge victorious was both remarkable and miraculous. This was unquestionably an extraordinary instance of divine intervention and divine retribution. THANKS be to GOD for prayers answered! In solidarity with the victims of Roman Catholic clergy abuse & those who advocate for them, JuneAnnette
Joey Piscitelli July 10, 2012 at 03:40 PM
It's more than obvious that the prosecution of Lynch is a result of the strong Jesuit influence over the Santa Clara officials. The DA puppets went overboard, controlled by Jesuit strings, and attempted to overzealously thrash the victim; apparently not realizing yet that a reasonable jury is not as willing to be led by the SJ leash. The DA should have realized that the jury - unlike the DA's office - had nothing to gain by following the Jesuits orders. 12 out of 12 random normal citizens in a jury had to correct the misguided system, a testament to justice, and also to the questionable motives of the DA and court in Santa Clara.
Kay Goodnow July 10, 2012 at 04:25 PM
A sociopath has no conscience and no sense of guilt. On the other hand, Will Lynch has a very strong sense of justice and is to be commended for bringing his case to trial. The jury saw through the shenanigans instigated by the DA. Good for them and good for Will. He alone has done more for victims than anyone else anywhere!
June Annette July 10, 2012 at 04:33 PM
This trial has in a most singular way illustrated the glaring injustice of statutes of limitations in childhood sexual abuse cases that denies victims due process of law while their assailants walk free! 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. The "pope of Rome" has himself stated: “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
June Annette July 10, 2012 at 04:33 PM
- continued - And yet the most vigorous opposition to ending these laws is coming from the bishops . . the pope's operatives and the Roman Catholic "church's" powerful lobbying arm? ? GOOGLE: Justice Denied What America Must Do to Protect It's Children by: Marci Hamilton: Recent events such as the clergy abuse scandal in the Catholic Church have brought the once-taboo subject of childhood sexual abuse to the forefront. Hamilton proposes a comprehensive yet simple solution: eliminate the arbitrary statutes of limitation for childhood sexual abuse so that survivors past and present can get into court. Removing this merely procedural barrier permits the millions of survivors to make public the identities of their perpetrators and to receive justice and much-deserved compensation. Standing in the way, however, are formidable opponents such as the insurance industry and the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church. In Justice Denied, Hamilton predicts a coming civil rights movement for children and explains why it is in the interest of all Americans to allow victims of childhood sexual abuse this chance to seek justice when they are ready.
Isis Moonheart July 10, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Why didn't they retry when my daughters attacker got a lesser charge, doesn't have to register as a pedophile due to 1 mentally disoriented juror. Steven David Bass you know what you did
Jane Darwin July 10, 2012 at 07:21 PM
I looks like some good will come out of this horrible, tragic experience. I hope Mr. Lynch finds some solace in doing this service for others in pain.
MichaelJ July 10, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Great move by Mr. Lynch, to help heal those that have been through similar experiences and to protect children. I wish him well and hope that his efforts bring visibility to this subject.
Frank Jewett July 10, 2012 at 10:14 PM
really? can't believe he settled in 1998, took the money and then when and punched an old guy at a care facility.
Alison July 10, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Frank Jewett: The "old guy" was just 65 years old and in perfect health.. He enjoys partaking in the wine parties at the winery where he lives.
Shana Rowan July 11, 2012 at 12:21 AM
Ick... so, no one sees how the precedent has been set for anyone to COMMIT ASSAULT on anyone they choose, and get away with it by claiming the victim molested them? FYI, a lawsuit doesn't mean that Lindner was guilty. No one here has enough information to accurately convict him of a sexual crime and everyone who's latched onto Mr. Lynch's story is challenged to come up with any proof it actually occurred. Seems to me if Mr. Lynch cared one bit about sexual abuse, he'd have taken his lawsuit payout in '98 and created a nonprofit THEN. I certainly don't think someone who believes violence and vengeance is appropriate should be the head of ANY organization - particularly one that deals with children. Someday, one of you sheeple is going to get accused of something heinous. When everyone turns against you without a shred of evidence, it'll be your own fault.
Carolyn Neal July 11, 2012 at 04:44 AM
There is plenty of evidence to convict Lindner, even the DA admitted his guilt in her opening statement. Dismiss the lawsuits and millions of dollars that have been paid to his victims. Let's talk about his mother admitting to finding him molesting his sister OR his brother finding him molesting his niece OR the numerous other victims that have come forward. Google his name and will you find plenty of articles and information that predate Will's case. He has not been prosecuted because the unrealistic Statues of Limitations require children to come forward sooner than is possible in most cases. To say, as you are alleging and as Prosecutor Gemetti claimed in her closing, that condoning violence opens the door for assaulting someone who "stole your favorite bike" is ridiculous. The jury heard one man's story and voted accordingly. That was their only duty. Many of the sheeple, as you so condescendingly call us, are survivors ourselves. We understand what you apparently do not, it takes a lifetime to heal the pain caused by the torture Jerold Lindner and those like him inflicted on their victims. Money is not a magic salve. As for you assertion that Will is not an appropriate choice to run a nonprofit, NO ONE is more appropriate. No one will understand better or work harder to help children that have been abused and prevent there from being more victims. Seems to me, Tinman, it is time to visit the Wizard. You are seriously in need of a heart.
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz July 11, 2012 at 05:16 AM
"What man did for evil, GOD can use it for Good" If you allow...
Alison July 11, 2012 at 10:42 AM
To Shana Rowan: Even the Diocese lists Lindner as a child molester at the place where he is living. And bear in mind, that Lindner's own brother is a police officer who reported that Lindner had molested his niece and nephew. And thank you Carolyn Neal, for your eloquent and thoughtful response to Shana's response. I would not have been so polite.
Julie Long July 11, 2012 at 12:41 PM
Frank and Shana: Do your research before commenting. Thank you.
natalie haywood July 11, 2012 at 05:55 PM
too many times people label victims as heroes. they are victims and that is where it ends.
Alison July 11, 2012 at 09:38 PM
The majority of victims NEVER speak out. ANY VICTIM who breaks the cycle of silence and speaks out is a HERO.
janet colleen beaver July 12, 2012 at 04:22 AM
if you don't believe will and his brother were molested by lindner, than how about the family members of lindner who were ready to testify aganist him at the trial, and never got the chance because the priest pleaded the fifth. i was at the trial, and i talked to his niece, she was molested by her uncle, as had several other members of her family. About 12 people were ready to testify, can all these people be lying about being molested by linder. His own brother(lindner) caught him in the act of molesting his daughter, but instead of calling the cops, he told him to leave his house and never return.
LoyolaAlum July 12, 2012 at 02:04 PM
Perhaps District Attorney Jeff Rosen can tell us the response of the DA office to information that it was given that Jerold Lindner might know something about the sudden death of a person on jury duty in a pervious year, James Chevedden. Chevedden died 5-mintues after being dismissed from jury duty for the day at the Hall of Justice in downtown San Jose. Lindner was never questioned.
Alison July 17, 2012 at 12:48 PM
Will someone please report prosecutor Gemetti to the Bar for withholding evidence and lying about it? ANYONE can write a complaint to the Bar; you don't have to be a party to the case. She needs to be reported.
stephanie s harlen August 21, 2012 at 12:19 AM
I am a sexual abused victim struggling to survive, Please help, read my web page http://igg.me/p/208394?a=958116

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