LOS GATOS (CBS 5 / KCBS / AP) — A man who said he was molested three decades ago by a Jesuit priest was arrested Friday on charges that he tracked down the retired cleric in his Los Gatos retirement home and severely beat him in front of shocked witnesses, authorities said.

William Lynch, 43, was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon for the May 10 attack that sent the 65-year-old Rev. Jerold Lindner to the hospital with bruises and lacerations, said Sgt. Rick Sung of the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department.

Lynch was expected to be released on $25,000 bail, defense attorney Pat Harris said. The attorney negotiated his client’s surrender and said Lynch would plead not guilty at his arraignment sometime next month.

KCBS’ Betsy Gebhart Reports:

Lynch harbored a fantasy for years of confronting the priest, who also allegedly molested his little brother.

Sgt. Sung said Lynch attacked the 65-year-old priest after he failed to recognize him at the Jesuits’ Sacred Heart retirement home in Los Gatos. The attack occurred in a small room adjoining the lobby.

“They’re saying it was pretty close to beating him to death,” defense lawyer Harris said. “They’re essentially saying that he waited all these years and then took out his revenge. It’s sort of the ultimate revenge story.”

Lynch and his younger brother settled with the Jesuits of the California Province, a Roman Catholic religious order, for $625,000 in 1998 after alleging that Lindner abused them in 1975 during weekend camping trips in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

The boys, who were 7 and 5 at the time, were raped in the woods and forced to have oral sex with each other while Lindner watched, Harris said. Lindner has been accused of abuse by nearly a dozen people, including his own sister and nieces and nephews.

Police connected Lynch to the attack using phone records, Sgt. Sung said. A half hour before the beating, a caller identifying himself as “Eric” called the rest home and said someone would arrive shortly to inform Lindner of a family member’s death.

“The Father shows up in the lobby, at which point he was asked by the suspect if he knew who he was. When the Father answered ‘No,’ that’s when the suspect started attacking,” Sung said. “He was punching him in the face and all over the body. After the Father goes down, then the suspect takes off.”

Lindner was able to drive himself to the hospital. He did not return a call left on his answering machine Friday.

He has previously denied abusing the Lynch boys and has not been criminally charged. The abuse falls outside the statute of limitations.

Lindner was removed from 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 the record-breaking $660 million settlement struck between the church and more than 550 plaintiffs in 2007.

The Rev. John McGarry, the provincial, said Lindner had fully recovered and had resumed his work at the retirement home, where he helps care for 75 retired and invalid priests.

“As you can imagine it’s very emotionally distressing to go through something like this. He hasn’t spoken a lot about it,” McGarry said of Lindner. “He’s living a quiet life of prayer and service within our community.”

Lynch declined an interview Friday but in a 2002 Los Angeles Times article, he said he’d had nightmares for years, battled depression and alcoholism and had attempted suicide twice because of the priest’s abuse.

“Many times I thought of driving down to LA and confronting Father Jerry. I wanted to exorcise all of the rage and anger and bitterness he put into me,” Lynch told the newspaper. “You can’t put into words what this guy did to me. He stole my innocence and destroyed my life.”

Most news media outlets do not identify victims of sex crimes as a matter of policy, but Lynch previously came forward to tell his story.

Although rare, it’s not unheard of for victims of sexual abuse to take revenge upon their abusers — and it can be normal for victims to fantasize about revenge without acting on it, said Steven Danish, a professor of psychology at Virginia Commonwealth University who’s counseled sexual abuse victims.

In Lynch’s case, reading about Lindner in media accounts throughout the years and realizing he had gone unpunished could have pushed Lynch to act, said Danish, who has not treated Lynch.

“Imagine holding something inside for 35 years and letting it fester,” Danish said. “He’s probably thinking, ‘You’re living your life and here I am a failure and all because of what you did to me on that day.'”

There have been several other instances of violence, sometimes fatal, against priests accused of abuse since the Roman Catholic clergy abuse scandal unfolded in 2002.

In Baltimore, a man who claimed he was sodomized and fondled by a priest a decade before shot the clergyman three times after the priest told him to go away when he demanded an apology.

The defendant was acquitted of attempted murder but served 18 months of home detention on a gun conviction.

The following year, priest John Geoghan was strangled to death in his cell by a fellow inmate who claimed he was chosen by God to kill pedophiles. Geoghan was serving a 9- to 10-year sentence for groping a boy and was at the center of the Boston clergy abuse scandal. He had been accused of molesting as many as 150 boys.

Lindner was ordained in 1976 and taught at various Catholic high schools during his career, including 16 years as chairman of the English department at Loyola High School, a prestigious Catholic prep school in Los Angeles.

There, he launched nearly two dozen after-school programs for students, including a chess club and renaissance club, and became master of a Boy Scout troop that included mostly lower-income Puerto Rican boys, his older brother, Larry Lindner, told The Associated Press.

Most of Lindner’s family severed contact with him years ago after discovering he had molested his nieces and nephews when they were as young as 3. They were unaware of the attack, said his sister, Kathy McEntire.

McEntire said her brother molested her starting when she was 5 — and she learned 15 years ago that he also abused her son for years. She last spoke to her brother in 2001.

“Jerry’s violent and I would not be surprised if he did get beat up. I could understand somebody getting that mad,” McEntire told the AP. “I’ve often said myself that I don’t trust myself around him. I would likely wind up in jail because I’d probably kick him somewhere where the sun doesn’t shine — and I’m his sister.”

During their last visit nine years ago, McEntire asked Lindner if any of the abuse allegations were true.

“I said, ‘Is it true? He said, ‘Well, some of it,'” McEntire said. “I called him a few choice words and that was the last time I ever saw him.”

Larry Lindler, a retired Los Angeles police officer, said he last saw his brother more than two decades ago after he walked in on him molesting his 8-year-old daughter during a visit. The two were playing a game called “blankie” in which Lindner asked the little girl to lie over his lap like a blanket and then wiggled around as if trying to get comfortable.

“The last contact I had with him personally was the day after I caught him with my daughter and I told him he best get in his vehicle and leave,” he recalled. “I said, ‘If I go out to the truck and get my off-duty weapon out of the glove box, you’re a dead man.”

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (15)
  1. Lee White says:

    If a jury ever gets this case, it needs to do the right thing and acquit Mr. Lynch.

  2. Bloodhounds says:

    Glad he beat him he deserves more than that! Hope the charges are dropped against Mr. Lynch.

  3. Mike says:

    Hope this helps in some way Mr. Lynch. He’ll get more of that beating in hell..

  4. Ms. C. says:

    There needs to be a petition FOR Will Lynch on Facebook now.
    I met Will’s brother in 2000 (I know how bad it was), and I worked for the Jesuits in Toronto in the 1970s. Of course I believe the victims.
    The law needs to apply to Jesuits!

  5. Ms. C., Silicon Valley, CA says:

    One more thing:
    Why are the Jesuits running a retirement home/shelter for the sex offenders in their order, in tony Los Gatos, California?

  6. Ms. C., Silicon Valley, CA says:

    Father McGary, if you think this was “emotionally distressing” for Jerold Lindner, can you imagine what so many of his young victims went through? Such a disconnect with reality with you guys.

  7. John W Stafford says:

    Using the holy cloth to molest children, numerous relatives’ children, children in the Church Community, for many years while denying and hiding behind that holy cloth . This guy should be in a 8′ by 6′ prison cell until he meets his Maker where the eternal life punishment is rendered upon his soul.
    The man who assaulted Lindner should get counseling for his anger and help to regain his self esteem. No Prison or Jail time.

  8. Brian says:

    Who could blame William ? This pervert Jerold Lindner should be sent
    to prison for a second round.. The real crime is the justice system .
    Free William the ” Real Victim, not Father Pedophile.
    “Justice for the children ” I hope this sends a message to others that molest
    God’s children.. I don’t think you’ll find a jury to convict William unless it’s
    made up of all pedophiles.. Maybe William can heal now..
    May God Bless you William. How can someone do these things to a child
    and not be prosecuted ?????? If we are not for the children then who are we
    for. ? Father Pedophile. should spend the rest of his life in prison.

  9. amber says:

    the injustice here is that Linder’s wounds will heal while all of his victims continue to be tortured for life by his acts.

  10. Bad Boy Ray says:

    Mr. Lynch, I ask you WHY did you stop at merely beating him? Ther is no place in society for molesters !

  11. Two Ten says:

    In regard to Fr. Jerold Lindner, the Jesuit priest allegedly beaten up by the person he victimized:
    James Chevedden reported sex abuse within the California Jesuit Order to California Jesuit Leader Fr. Thomas Smolich. Smolich had publicly committed the Jesuit Order to providing a sanctuary for accused Jesuit pedophiles. Sadly Fr. Smolich did nothing in regard to Chevedden’s sex abuse report and Chevedden died violently at age 56.

    Accused violent Jesuit pedophile Fr. Jerold Lindner, with $2 million in sex abuse settlements on his record and a resident of the Jesuit/Smolich sex abuse sanctuary, was alone with Chevedden near the death scene just hours before Chevedden’s violent death. Lindner asked to meet Chevedden at the time that turned out to be the time that Chevedden died violently. Lindner also knew where Chevedden would be at the time that Chevedden died.

    The Jesuit Order covered up evidence related to Chevedden’s death and made it difficult for Chevedden’s family to obtain Chevedden’s body. Fr. Smolich is now paradoxically the top Jesuit official in the USA.

  12. Two Ten says:

    Fr. Jerold Lindner, the Jesuit priest allegedly beaten up by the person he victimized, was the last Jesuit to see Jesuit Fr. James Chevedden alive – 3-hours before Chevedden’s violent death and near the Chevedden death scene.

    Early in his Jesuit life, Fr. James Chevedden met Fr. Francis Rouleau who helped him discover a fire in his heart for China. Chevedden first went to Taiwan as a scholastic, spent much of his life there, learned the language, wrote it, studied its music and literature. He had a great love for the Chinese people.

    His close friends were the China missionaries Fr. Francis Rouleau, Fr. George Wong, who spent more than twenty-five years in prison for his witness to his faith, Fr. Ed Malestesta, who learned Chinese in midlife, to die tragically just as his work was beginning to flourish, and Fr. Jim Thornton, who returned to retire at Santa Clara after a lifetime in China. They were his heroes, like other heroic missionaries of another generation, Matteo Ricci, Adam Schall, Ferdinand Verbiest, who went to China in the sixteenth century.

    When Fr. Chevedden returned to San Jose, California, he continued his work with Chinese Catholics. He was greatly beloved by parishioners at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Fremont and St. Claire’s in Santa Clara.

    Chevedden and his three brothers graduated from Loyola High School, Los Angeles. Ironically Lindner taught at Loyola High School for 15-years.

  13. Nancy says:

    Bravo Mr. Lynch ,
    You are a brave soldier. Im sure you have no regrets. haha , Job well done, why is this insane minister not behind bars, what is wrong with our system, ? If I found out my child was mallested id go find him and kill him if they let him free. That should be the punishment of child malesters. Let the families have him for 5 min. Lets just hope he worries about what color lipstick he will have to wear in prison. Bravo.. You stepped up to the plate now you relax and take it easy. You are a hero in my eyes.

  14. Ms. C., Silicon Valley, CA says:

    The Lynch settlement was unusually low for two of the worst case victims of “Father Jerry” Lindner SJ. If the $625,000 is pre-taxes and legal fees — very low when divided in half. These victims did not receive the costly, regular, quality behavioral help they needed until way too late because of all of the denial, parents included, it is my understanding.

  15. Randy Cruz says:

    Hey folks, Will be the U.S. far better off keeping Syria’s Assad?