William Lynch found not guilty in priest beating

July 6, 2012 1:14:47 AM PDT
William Lynch was found not guilty Thursday on two felony charges related to the 2010 beating of Father Jerry Lindner, an elderly priest whom Lynch says molested him and his brother in the 1970s.

Lynch, 44, says he was prepared to go to jail and serve time for the 2010 assault, but when the jury found him not guilty he says he was elated and feels justice has been served

A jury acquitted Lynch of felony assault and elder abuse for beating up Lindner, the Jesuit priest accused of raping Lynch in 1975.

"I definitely want to be free of this completely and this has gone a long way towards me getting there," Lynch said.

Prosecutors called it a vigilante attack. They say it left Lindner bloody and bruised. And even though they had no doubt Lynch had been molested, they say it was not the way to handle it.

"Just punishment is delivered through our justice system not through the acts of one traumatized and troubled man," Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeffrey Rosen said.

The defense argued that until now, the system failed Lynch and protected Lindner, who was never prosecuted because of the statute of limitations.

"The statute of limitations went by and the Jesuits are protecting this guy and it seemed so wrong," Lynch family friend Kathleen Smith said.

The California Province Jesuits would not comment specifically on Lindner, but did say, "Abuse of any type aimed toward children or vulnerable adults is an abhorrent violation of trust. We condemn such actions and continue to pray for healing for anyone who has been affected by abuse."

"I think he's criminally insane; I think he's a sociopath and a dangerous person and he needs to be put away," Lynch said.

The jury was hung and couldn't agree on a misdemeanor charge of misdemeanor assault. The prosecutor has until next Friday to decide whether to re-file that charge.


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