South Bay News

Crowd rallies outside court in priest's beating

Wednesday, February 09, 2011
William Lynch

There was a strong show of support on Wednesday for a man who is accused of beating a local priest. William Lynch has said in the past he and his brother suffered years of sexual abuse at the hands of Father Jerold Lindner.

Lynch is facing felong assault charges for allegedly beating the former Jesuit priest he says molested he and his brother in the 1970s. Lynch appeared in a San Jose Court Wednesday for a hearing.

The prosecution's first witness was an employee at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos, who says she came upon the May 10, 2010 confrontation and saw Lynch punch Lindner in the face. The defense tried to discount that testimony, saying Mary Eden never told officers on that day, or even when she was questioned a week later, that she actually saw Lindner being hit. Eden also testified she heard the assailant shouting at Lindner.

"He was saying Father Lindner ruined his life and his brother's life. I remember him using obscenities and being very angry," she said.

"At this point in his life when he claims he is not the molester, while everyone else says he is, that he doesn't have the courage to come into the courtroom and say he is not," defense attorney Pat Harris said.

A subpoena brought Lindner to court, but he never made an appearance. The district attorney has long contended that the case is about the beating and not about past allegations of molestations in which the statute of limitations has ran out. But that is precisely what the defense is trying to do -- to publicly shame Lindner.

The judge will make a ruling Thursday morning as to whether there is enough evidence to proceed with the felony assault charges.

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