Prosecutor admits priest abused defendant

June 20, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
It was an explosive day in a San Jose courtroom Wednesday in the trial of a man charged with beating the priest he says molested him as a child.

The deputy district attorney has said all along that this case is strictly about whether Will Lynch assaulted Father Jerry Lindner. Lynch turned down a plea bargain in part, because he wants to hold Lindner publically accountable for what happened in 1975. To some extent, both sides are getting what they want.

Lynch is getting his day in court albeit as a defendant accused of beating the priest he says molested him. In her opening statement, prosecutor Vicki Gemetti made a stunning admission. She said the evidence will prove Lindner molested Lynch as a child and would probably lie about it on the stand. "She's calling her own victim a liar and a rapist and a molester, and that goes towards his credibility," priest abuse victim Joey Piscitelli said.

The deputy DA however, first showed a blown-up picture of a bloody and bruised Lindner and said the molestation did not give Lynch the right to carry out what she called "vigilante justice" in May of 2010. Gemetti played portions of a video interview with Lynch from ABC7 News media partner the San Jose Mercury News in which Lynch seemed to take responsibility for the confrontation with Lindner at the churches Los Gatos retirement facility.

"I did everything I could under the law. Where does my moral obligation to myself, to society, to protect society from him, supersede the law of the land?" he asked. There were also clips of Lynch crying as he explained in graphic detail the abuse he says suffered at age 7 and his brother, at age 4. That is what the defense tried to drive home to the jury. "One thing that I think that the lawyer pointed out well was that this is not simple molestation. This is rape. This is sodomy. This is forced incest. This is horrible, horrible, evil sadistic stiff. It's not just molest," Lynch supporter Christina Smith said.

Late in the day, Lindner took the stand. He denied molesting Lynch and his brother. After testimony ended for the day, the prosecution declined to comment, but Lynch's attorney Pat Harris did. "I'm going to start a campaign from not only his supporters, but also this county, we're going to make sure that Father Lindner is charged with perjury in this case.

Lindner also testified that it was Lynch who lured him into a meeting and repeatedly punched him in the face. The former priest returns to the stand Thursday.


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