South Bay News

Woman confronts former priest outside courtroom

Thursday, June 21, 2012
Father Jerry Lindner courtroom sketch William Lynch

The emotional trial of a San Francisco man accused of beating a former priest is on hold now as attorneys argue over legal issues.

Will Lynch is accused of beating Father Jerry Lindner in 2010, but claims Lindner molested him in the 1970s. The judge abruptly halted the case on day two of testimony. The break is designed so attorneys can debate some undisclosed legal issues, but the real fireworks took place right outside the courtroom during an explosive confrontation Thursday.

Lynch's trial was interrupted Thursday morning by shouting from the hallway and the bailiff rushing out of the courtroom. "Father Lindner, Father Jerry was brought up through the stairwell and there was a confrontation," Lynch supporter Christina Smith told ABC7 News.

The disruption involved a woman named Debbie Lukus who says she was molested for years by the former priest. "It happened really fast. 'I have a right. You need to look at me.' And then the bailiff or whoever stopped her and she started crying," witness Tamara Roehm recalled.

"It could have gotten physical. What do you expect? This guy did some evil things to a lot of people and nobody's done nothing about it all these years," witness John Allen said.

Lindner took the stand for the first time in his life Wednesday. He accused Lynch of beating him, but denied molesting Lynch and his brother in 1975. In her opening statement though, the prosecutor said her own witness would probably lie about the molestation and it appears that has triggered an avalanche of legal issues.

"I expect that there's trouble here and we saw that today. The judge is having trouble with the attorneys. They can't come to an agreement so, I think somebody's looking for a dismissal and somebody's looking for a plea bargain," abuse survivor Joey Piscitelli said.

ABC7 News legal analyst Dean Johnson says those are just two of the possibilities and he believes that ultimately, the state attorney general could be asked to look into a perjury charge against Lindner. The judge and attorneys will talk on Friday. The jury is due back on Monday.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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san jose, crime, sex crimes, sex offender, trials, south bay news, karina rusk
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