SAN JOSE (KCBS) – The judge overseeing the trial of a man accused of beating a Los Gatos priest Jerold Lindner sent the jury delayed testimony in the case because of legal questions over whether the cleric may have perjured himself on the witness stand.
Lindner testified on Wednesday that he did not molest William Lynch, the man facing felony assault and elder abuse charges for allegedly attacking him at a retirement home.
Thursday morning, yelling could be heard outside the courtroom as a witness in the case, who claimed Lindner had also abused her as a child, confronted Lindner in the hallway as he was about to enter the courtroom.
KCBS’ Mike Colgan Reports:
Inside the courtroom, Judge David Cena sent jurors home, saying the trial needed to be halted temporarily because there were significant issues in the case that have to be discussed in chambers. He did not say what those issues were, but there was speculation that Lindner may have perjured himself.
On Wednesday, defense attorney Pat Harris said he would “make sure” that Lindner was charged with perjury after Deputy District Attorney Vicki Gemetti told the jury in her opening statement that Lindner would probably lie by denying he molested Lynch.
When Lindner later took the witness stand Wednesday, he indeed denied having molested Lynch or his brother.
Lynch claims Lindner raped him and his brother during a church camping trip in 1975 when the boys were 7 and 4 years old.
Lynch and his brother settled a civil lawsuit with the Jesuits in 1998 related to the alleged abuse, and Harris said the settlement included an agreement that Lindner would admit to the abuse and apologize for it.
However, the settlement is not legally an admission of guilt and it is unclear whether a perjury charge would stand up in court.
There was also speculation that Lindner is refusing to testify further.
A number of Lynch’s supporters gathered outside the courthouse this morning, talking, holding hands and carrying signs, some of which read “Vatican Stop the Cover-Up.”
Some in the group said Lindner also abused them, and some claimed to have been on the camping trip in the 1970s on which Lynch says Lindner raped and sodomized him and forced him to have sex with his 4-year-old brother.
Deb Lukas, the woman who confronted Linder and yelled at him outside of court Thursday morning, was also part of the group.
Standing in a circle with other Lynch supporters, she embraced Lynch’s sister Amanda, who told Lukas she was proud of her.
“I talked to who I needed to talk to,” Lukas said. “He hasn’t seen me for 30 years. He had to look me in the eye today.”
Lynch’s attorney has denied that her client intended to assault Lindner when he confronted the priest in May, 2010, and said jurors should question the credibility of his testimony.
The judge said testimony would not resume until 1:30 p.m. Friday while the questions surrounding that unusual legal maneuver were investigated.
(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)