SAN JOSE (CBS SF) — Santa Clara County prosecutors Friday officially announced their decision not to re-file misdemeanor charges against William Lynch for beating Fr. Jerold Lindner, who Lynch claims molested him more than three decades ago.
Deputy District Attorney Vikki Gemetti Friday morning formally told Judge David Cena of her office’s decision.
Cena responded by saying that the charges were dismissed and Lynch’s bail released.
“It does put an exclamation point on the case,” said Lynch’s attorney Pat Harris.
Lynch, 44, was acquitted by a jury earlier this month of charges related to an assault on May 10, 2010, in Los Gatos at the Jesuit retirement home of Lindner, a now 67-year-old priest who Lynch said raped him at the age of 7, and forced him to perform sexual acts with his brother, who was 4 at the time.
If Lynch had been convicted of all the assault charges brought against him, some of which were felonies, he could have spent up to four years in prison.
“It’s a chance to get my life back,” Lynch said of Friday’s announcement, adding that he wants to work with the district attorney’s office to change the statute of limitations on rape so that more victims can get justice.
Lynch also expressed gratitude to the members of the jury.
“I’m absolutely overwhelmed … grateful. I think they made a decision in the face of a system that wasn’t functioning properly … I applaud them for their courage,” he said.
The district attorney’s office did not have further comment Friday on whether they had decided to file perjury charges against Lindner.
The issue of perjury came up during the trial after Lindner testified that he did not molest Lynch—testimony that contrasted with Lynch’s accusations and the 1988 civil lawsuit in which the church settled with Lynch and his brother for more than $600,000.
Speaking of his belief that Lindner could be tried for perjury, Harris said, “I think the law is very clear, I think there’s no question that Lindner violated it … he needs to be charged with perjury.”
Although District Attorney Jeffrey Rosen did not say whether or not his office would pursue perjury charges, he did say that the office would be willing to work with Lynch.
“We are open to working constructively with anyone who wants to make Santa Clara County a safer place, including Mr. Lynch, now that he has expressed responsibility for his actions,” Rosen said.
“Many of us have been working for years to extend and eliminate the statute of limitations for raping a child. We would welcome Mr. Lynch and others to join us in this worthy battle,” he said.
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