Update: 5:30 p.m., Wednesday, June 27: Santa Clara County Sheriff's Sgt. Ryan Elder, who investigated the attack on a priest at the Los Gatos two years ago, took the stand Wednesday afternoon to corroborate that he had seen injuries on the cleric.
After reviewing photos of the beaten-up Jerold Lindner presented to him by prosecutor Vicki Gemetti, Elder said he saw stitches on an injury above his left eye on May 12, 2010, two days after the incident took place. He also said he had interviewed him again on May 18, 2010 and that injuries were still obvious then related to the alleged assault.
Elder added that he had also interviewed retired center health-care worker Mary Margaret Eden and receptionist Carol Santos twice after the incident. Eden was shown a photographic lineup of possible suspects that included defendant William Lynch, accused of pummeling Lindner the afternoon of May 10, 2010.
Elder testified he obtained records through a search warrant for Lynch's cell phone number to further identify him as the suspect in the case by placing his cell phone activity near the center's address at 300 College Ave. in Los Gatos.
Elder said the distance between the center and Lynch's residence in San Francisco was about 50 miles, driving for about 45 to 50 minutes. He also said he had watched a video interview of Lynch given to the San Jose Mercury News in which he spoke about the alleged abuse at the hands of the priest.
Gemetti, as she did at the start of the trial on June 20, showed the video again, parts of it edited for language. At least one juror was seen wiping a tear moved by Lynch's account in the segment of how Lindner raped and sodomized him and his brother while on camping trips in the Santa Cruz Mountains in the '70s.
Under cross examination by Lynch attorney Pat Harris, Elder said he investigated the priest's background and molestation accusations by doing research on him on the Internet. He also said he interviewed Santos more in-depth about the incident because she, rather than Eden, knew more about the assault.
Elder also testified that he could hear Lynch yelling that the priest had sexually molested him during the 911 call of the incident.
Earlier Wednesday morning, Eden testified that Lynch was yelling after the alleged assault that Lindner had sexually molested him.
Lynch "seemed agitated," said Eden. He "was still upset with Father [Jerold] Lindner ... was still screaming, saying that he molested him." Eden said Lynch tried to re-enter the parlor area where the alleged attack on the priest took place, but she prevented him from doing so.
Eden said she then told Lynch that Santos, now retired, was calling 911. Eden then saw Lynch go out the front doors of the center's main building and down the steps, she testified.
Lynch is standing trial for the alleged attack. He faces
Eden was the first witness to testify for the prosecution Wednesday, which was expected to rest its case. Both Santos and the priest himself testified on June 20, the first day of the trial. A wireless communications expert, an emergency technician and two sheriff's deputies have also taken the stand.
Lindner has never been prosecuted for child sexual abuse and has denied molestation accusations in the past. He did so again while giving testimony as the prosecution's key witness.
On Monday, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge David Cena, who is presiding over the high-profile case, ordered that Lindner's testimony be stricken. The decision came after Lynch's defense attorneys, Pat Harris and Paul Mones, filed mistrial motions alleging prosecutorial misconduct and perjury. Lindner has since been allowed to invoke his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
Eden testified she helped Lindner up after she found him kneeling down by the couch in the parlor. She said he had blood on his face and shirt and was shaken and frightened.
She also said she had told Lynch he had to stop and leave the premises. But she said Lynch kept "calling in to Father Lindner ... ".
Gemetti showed Eden two photos of Lindner after the incident and she recognized the priest as the bruised man in the photos. Eden said she helped him get medical care at the center's nursing station.
She then said she reported what happened to Alfred Naucke, the executive assistant to the Provincial of the California Province of the Society of Jesus.
Elder met with Eden twice after the assault and showed her two photographs of suspect lineups. He asked her to look at the pictures carefully and she eventually selected Lynch from the second photo of suspects, she said.
Under cross examination, Harris got Eden to testify that the first thing she told a sheriff deputy after the incident is that she saw the defendant leaving the premises.
"You never once mentioned that you saw William Lynch ever hitting Father Lindner, isn't that correct?" Harris asked her.
After answering in the affirmative, Eden also said she had never mentioned to the deputy she had blocked Lynch from going back into the parlor.
Harris said the first time Eden testified she had actually seen Lynch hit the priest was during the case's preliminary hearing in February 2011.
Eden said she was aware that priests who live at the center have been accused of sexual molestation, was embarrassed by the allegations, and knew Lindner had been accused of sexual misconduct. She said she was aware that the allegations were among the reasons he was residing at the center.
Harris asked Eden: "You heard Mr. Lynch screaming, 'He abused my brother ... he f----- my brother ... You heard Mr. Lynch screaming, 'He made me f--- my own brother?'"
Eden then conceded that during an interview with Elder she said she had heard Lynch state that the priest had molested him and that he had committed sodomy with his brother because of the priest.
When Harris' questioning turned to Eden's loyalty to the center and alleged incidents of sexual abuse by clerics, Gemetti objected. The judge sustained the objection after asking them to approach the bench, where they deliberated for about 10 minutes.
Judge Cena then called for a break, which lasted more than 30 minutes and that he said was due to an inquiry related to a possible inappropriate contact with a juror. He reminded those attending the trial that nobody, other than jurors, is to be in the jury assembly courtroom.
He also said no one is to have any contact with the jurors and reminded the audience that due process is paramount to the case and anyone attempting to have inappropriate contact with a juror would be expelled.