William Lynch Will Not Be Retried For Assault Charge, DA Announces

County's top prosecutor also says he's evaluating obstacles to filing perjury charges against priest alleged to have sexually molested the San Francisco man and others.


The Santa Clara County District Attorney’s Office this afternoon announced it will not re-file a misdemeanor assault charge against the San Francisco man acquitted last week of felony assault and elder abuse that resulted from a confrontation with the Los Gatos priest he claims brutally raped him and his brother as children.

Prosecutor Vicki Gemetti is scheduled to make the decision official before Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge David Cena at 9 a.m. Friday, July 20, in Department 34 at the Hall of Justice in San Jose, the DA announced in a press release.

On July 5, a 12-member jury found Lynch, 44, not guilty off the two felony charges, and acquitted him on the charge of misdemeanor elder abuse, but hung on the lower charge of misdemeanor assault on Rev. Jerold Lindner.

Gemetti had the option to re-file the misdemeanor charge on which the jury deadlocked 8-4.

The announcement follows days of speculation as to what the county's top prosecutor would do to Lynch, who's gained national attention for his plight against childhood sexual abuse. He's been particularly successful at shining a light on the decades-old issue of clergy sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and other denominations.

During a trial that began June 20, Lynch took the stand to testify about abuse he claimed he received at the hands of the priest, describing in graphic detail how he and his younger brother were raped and sodomized while his family participated in camping trips at Portola Redwoods State Park in the mid-'70s.

On May 10, 2010, Lindner admitted to the jury and a courtroom full of media, family and friends that he had indeed punched Lindner after he confronted him about the alleged abuse at the Los Gatos Sacred Heart Jesuit Center.

“We have heard the jury. We believe it is unlikely that a new jury would render a substantially different decision,” Rosen said of his decision in the release.

“We have heard Mr. Lynch,’’ Rosen added. “His story of abuse is powerful. We hope it lends strength to our ongoing efforts to ease the statutes of limitations on child molestation so we can bring more child molesters to justice. As public safety servants sworn to uphold justice, we worked to hold Mr. Lynch responsible for his violent criminal actions. While we were unable to do this, Mr. Lynch seems to have taken responsibility himself.”

After his acquittal, Lynch told the media: “"I was wrong for doing what I did -- in doing that I perpetuated the cycle of violence."  And “I encourage people not to do what I did, the way I did it.”

District Attorney Rosen responded, saying “We agree.”

The DA’s Office also announced in the release that it is evaluating obstacles to filing a perjury charge against Lindner, who took the stand, and under oath denied ever molesting the Lynch brothers. Lynch's attorneys, Pat Harris and Paul Mones, as well as leaders with the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, have been calling on Rosen to prosecute the priest for allegedly lying on the stand.

LoyolaAlum July 11, 2012 at 11:50 PM
Did the DA ever investigate Carol Santos and Mary Margaret Eden, their key witnesses (the Jesuit receptionist and the Jesuit Heath Care Coordinator), to see if they had covered up for the Jesuit Order previously?
Mckenna Smith July 12, 2012 at 12:06 AM
Finally some common sense from the DA's office. Thank you Mr. Rosen for doing the right thing. Mr Lynch should have never been brought to trial in the first place. Thank you.
Alison July 12, 2012 at 12:06 AM
Congratulations to Mr. Lynch; his family and his legal team! Well done!
Alison July 12, 2012 at 12:08 AM
I could have done without Rosen's last little dig at Lynch in his statement, however. He needs to save his venom for true criminals like Lindner and he needs to learn to lose more graciously.
Virginia Fiorentino July 12, 2012 at 12:20 AM
I am so very delighted at the results of this. I only hope that this "priest" (a title they still allow him to have) is not dismissed from the church and further prosecuted. This is dispicable and an embarrassment to myself as a Catholic.
Joey Piscitelli July 12, 2012 at 12:34 AM
Congratulations to Will Lynch. It's relieving to know the DA isn't going to waste more taxpayer money. It's not believable to hear the DAs claim of repairing sex abuse laws. I don't think the DA is credible. How many Jesuit serial rapists has the DA convicted? None. Fr. Lindner is free to roam Los Gatos as before, unsupervised. It's ludricrous to watch the DA look for credit in this debacle. Perhaps after DAs Rosen and Gemetti remove egg from their face, they won't be as enthusiastic to bow to Jesuit pressure to prosecute Jesuit rape victims. Hopefully the DA learned that the conscience of society corrected his errors; and sometimes there's a light at the end of the tunnel for sex abuse victims, and the light is not the DA, the narrow statutes, or church accountabilty. It is a jury of peers who have had enough with the Catholic church abuse, and the clergy pedophile-friendly system.
LoyolaAlum July 12, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Perhaps the DA office can tell us its previous response 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.
Carolyn Neal July 12, 2012 at 02:13 PM
While there indeed may be obstacles to prosecuting Lindner for perjury, DA Rosen needs to back up his words about bringing justice to child molesters. Judge Cena pointed out in the trial, Lindner has not been convicted of a crime. However, I have to wonder if any documents, either from civil lawsuits or church files, contain an admission that would be usable in court. The following is a portion of CA penal code 118 dealing with perjury: (b) No person shall be convicted of perjury where proof of falsity rests solely upon contradiction by testimony of a single person other than the defendant. Proof of falsity may be established by direct or indirect evidence. I would be interested to know, from someone with a legal background, if Cena throwing out his testimony affects the ability to charge him. Would the testimony of Will AND his brother be sufficient to prosecute? Would the testimony of other victims of Lindner be admissible even though he wasn't asked about any other victims prior to pleading the Fifth? At the very least, DA Rosen owes it to the children of Santa Clara County to investigate what is going on at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center and how many pedophiles the Catholic Church is hiding in his community.
Jeff Simrin July 12, 2012 at 02:27 PM
What do I think of the Santa Clara County District Attorney's decision not to retry William Lynch? Obviously supporters of Will Lynch are ecstatic with this decision, but I think the Santa Clara County DA Office is only doing so for damage control in a case that put them under scrutiny and made them look foolish. Hopefully voters will reward them by voting them out next term.
Jacqueline Johnson July 12, 2012 at 02:50 PM
It seemed a clear case of over-zealous prosecution and the jury understood that. I applaud Will Lynch's efforts to change the statute of limitations for child sexual molestation--6 years is absurd! And the Catholic Church. . . what are they thinking? More shame on them!
Alison July 12, 2012 at 03:14 PM
In the state of Delaware - there is NO statute of limitations for criminal or civil sex abuse cases.
Alison July 12, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Jeff Simrin: I agree that the DA dropped the case because of bad publicity for them. Rosen's got a huge ego, and I don't think he cared about Will Lynch.
Irene Aida Garza-Ortiz July 12, 2012 at 09:37 PM
If you believe that anybody gets away in doing any crime. You're wrong. Scripture reads: "Revenge is mine, thus saith the Lord." GOD is a JUST GOD, & HE knows all of our hearts. HE is not Mocked! And HIS Revenge is always the BEST! "What goes around comes around". "You reap what you sow".


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