Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge David Cena on Friday, dismissed a misdemeanor assault charge that still formally loomed over the San Francisco man's head.
Cena asked Santa Clara County Deputy District Attorney Vicki Gemetti whether she wanted to dismiss the charge against Lynch on which the jury deadlocked 8-4 for an admitted May 10, 2010 confrontation with Los Gatos Jesuit priest Jerold Lindner whom Lynch says raped and sodomized him as a boy, and she answered in the affirmative.
The hearing, which lasted about 30 seconds, was important because it represented for Lynch, 44, "the end of a long and arduous journey and one in which he didn't really know what the outcome was going to be," said Lynch's attorney Paul Mones.
; however the hearing formally threw out the claim and officially ended the high-profile case. Lynch was acquitted of felony assault and elder abuse and misdemeanor elder abuse by the jury. However, the jury hung on the lesser charge of assault. Had he been found guilty, he faced up to four years in prison.
Lynch's bail amount of $25,000 was also released, Mones said.
"Mr. Lynch, for the first time in his own life, can actually take a deep breath. He feels that he got his chance to put his story in front of the jury and again he emphasized that resorting to violence is not what he wanted to take away from this, but rather change the statute of limitations for victims of sexual abuse," Mones said.
The priest, who took the stand on June 20, the opening day of the trial, testified under oath that he had not molested Lynch or his brother while on camping trips in the '70s. The brothers claim he raped and sodomized them causing them severe trauma.
The Lynch brothers won a $600,000 settlement against the Jesuit Order in 1998 after filing a civil lawsuit and members of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests claim more than a dozen victims have come forward alleging the priest sexually abused them.
"It's now up to the prosecution to decide. Mr. Lynch is willing to meet with the DA's office and give whatever information he can give to bring Mr. Lindner to justice," Mones said.
In California, the statute of limitations—the time victims have after a crime is committed to file charges—is usually seven years. However, Mones explained, the statute is different for various offenses and the nature of the sexual crimes committed.
In Lynch's case, the abuse happened more than three decades ago, too long for the San Francisco man to file charges against Lindner. The priest, now 67, resides at the Los Gatos Sacred Heart Jesuit Center on College Avenue along with other Jesuits believed to have been removed from ministry due to sexual abuse allegations.
"Mr. Lynch wants the statute of limitations done away with," Mones said. "We want victims who've been sexually abused, especially those who are sexually abused the way he was, to not have any restrictions as to when they can pursue justice."
Mones is a high profile attorney specializing in the defense of criminal and civil child and physical abuse cases. The last case he represented on behalf of victims of sexual abuse was in Portland, OR against the Boy Scouts of America winning a $20 million judgment.