Priest abuse victim doesn't blame Lindner's attacker

SAN JOSE, Calif.

On Friday night, the priest did not want to talk to ABC7. A spokesperson did say after the attack, the priest was badly hurt with cuts and bruises, but then he drove himself to the hospital for treatment.

The suspect denies everything.

On Friday night, William Lynch walked out of the Santa Clara County Jail, six hours after turning himself in. The 43-year-old is accused of severely beating Father Jerold Lindner inside the nursing home where Lindner lives and cares for convalescing priests.

"We'll plead him not guilty," says Lynch's attorney, Pat Harris.

But investigators insist Lynch is far from innocent and that the May 10th attack at the Jesuits Sacred Heart Retirement Home was planned.

"The suspect called and asked for the Father and whether the Father was there. The answer was yes he was there and the suspect showed up about half an hour later and that's when the incident took place," says Santa Clara County Sheriff's Sgt. Rick Sung.

The beating happened in a room in front of several people. They say Lindner's attacker asked, "Do you know who I am?"

"Father Lindner was not aware who it was," says Father John McGarry, the retirement home administrator.

Regardless, Lynch and Lindner have a history. The suspect and his brother accused the priest of sexual abuse. The Jesuits of California Province awarded the brothers $625,000 back in 1998. Lindner's family also accused the priest of sexually assaulting his own relatives.

"This is the worst of the worst and so I understand they're accusing my client, or particular client of doing that, but again, it could be one of a number of people," says Harris.

Debbie Lukas and her family used to go camping with Father Lindner.

"He was sexually abusing us," says Lukas.

Lukas knows the Lynch brothers and what happened to them. Lukas didn't want to comment on Lynch's arrest but did say she doesn't blame Lindner's attacker.

"There are many times that I've contemplated doing all kinds of things to Father Jerry, I just don't want to lose my freedom over it, but I don't think it's right that he's free," says Lukas.

There are no other suspects at this time. Police say the reason it took so long to make an arrest is because they had to wait for search warrants and go through lots of phone records.

Lynch is out on bail.

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