Lynch takes the stand, admits attacking priest

June 29, 2012 6:41:10 PM PDT
A San Francisco man took the stand in his own defense Friday. William Lynch admitted that he beat Jerry Lindner, a priest who he says molested him decades ago.

The prosecution called seven witnesses in this emotionally-charged assault trial. The defense, who after a number of rulings gutted its strategy, called just one witness, the defendant himself. When Will Lynch took the stand, the first thing he told the jury was that he did indeed strike Father Jerry Lindner on May 10, 2010. He then broke down, often sobbing, describing in graphic detail how Lindner raped him and his brother as children and how those acts have affected his entire life. "You can just look at Mr. Lynch and see the true emotion in his face. I think you can see he was talking from the heart," defense attorney Paul Mones said.

Lynch testified that his only intention when he confronted Lindner at his Los Gatos retirement facility was to get him to sign a piece of paper admitting to the molestation. Lynch said he had negotiated that and more in an earlier civil settlement, but never got what he was promised. "Mr. Lynch was very clear on his desire to stop Father Jerry's access to other children and on his deep desire to bring him to justice in the court system," said Lynch supporter Christina Smith.

Prosecutors are trying to portray Lynch as a man intent on revenge and on the day of the assault, wanted more than anything just to hurt Lindner. "The judge has made it very clear now that the issue, in this case is not the molestation, but whether the defendant is guilty or not of assault," explained ABC7 News legal analyst Dean Johnson. Lynch faces two felony charges

Late Friday, there was another failed defense effort to get Lindner to testify on the record. At least three people who were ready to tell the jury they were also molested by the former priest say regardless of the outcome, the trial has given Lynch and other victims a voice. "To me, Will is a hero and I think that we should be applauding his ability to stand up and his willingness to stand up and bring this to the forefront again and again and again," abuse victim Debbie Lukas.

Both sides are expected to give their closing arguments on Monday. Then, after jury instructions, deliberations will begin.


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