Violent Turn in Abuse Case More Than 3 Decades Old
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Published: October 30, 2010
SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — William Lynch’s life has spiraled out of control in the 35 years since he says he and his brother were molested by a Jesuit priest. He struggled with depression, had nightmares and tried to kill himself twice.
The authorities say they believe that the anger and pain erupted last spring when the Rev. Jerold Lindner was lured to the lobby of his Jesuit retirement home and then beat severely in front of shocked witnesses.
Mr. Lynch, 43, was arrested Friday and booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon in the May 10 attack. He posted $25,000 bail and will plead not guilty at an arraignment next month, said his lawyer, Pat Harris.
During a confrontation at the Jesuits’ Sacred Heart retirement home in Los Gatos, Calif., Mr. Lynch repeatedly punched Father Lindner in the face and body after the priest said he did not recognize him, said Sgt. Rick Sung, a spokesman for the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department.
Mr. Lynch and his younger brother settled with the Jesuits of the California Province, a Roman Catholic religious order, for $625,000 in 1998 after accusing Father Lindner of abusing them in 1975 during weekend camping trips in the Santa Cruz Mountains.
Mr. Harris said the boys, who were 7 and 5 at the time, were raped and forced to have oral sex with each other while Father Lindner watched.
Father Lindner, 65, has been accused of abuse by nearly a dozen people, including his sister and nieces and nephews.
Investigators connected Mr. Lynch to the attack using phone records, Sergeant Sung said. A half-hour before the episode, a caller identifying himself as Eric called the home and said someone would arrive shortly to inform Father Lindner of a family member’s death.
Father Lindner was able to drive himself to the hospital after the attack. He did not return a call left on his answering machine.
He has previously denied abusing the Lynch boys and has not been criminally charged. The abuse falls outside the statute of limitations.
Father Lindner was removed from the ministry and placed at the Los Gatos retirement home in 2001.
He was named in two additional lawsuits for abuse between 1973 and 1985, according to the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The cases were included in a $660 million settlement struck between the church and more than 550 plaintiffs in 2007.
The Rev. John McGarry, the provincial, told The Associated Press that Father Lindner had recovered and resumed his work at the retirement home, where he helps care for 75 infirm priests. He is not allowed to leave the home unsupervised, he said.
“As you can imagine, it’s very emotionally distressing to go through something like this,” Father McGarry said. “He hasn’t spoken a lot about it. He’s living a quiet life of prayer and service within our community.”
Mr. Lynch declined an interview on Friday, but in a 2002 article in The Los Angeles Times, he said he had had nightmares for years, had battled depression and alcoholism and had attempted suicide twice.
“Many times I thought of driving down to L.A. and confronting Father Jerry,” Mr. Lynch said. “I wanted to exorcise all of the rage and anger and bitterness he put into me. You can’t put into words what this guy did to me. He stole my innocence and destroyed my life.”