LOS GATOS (CBS/AP/BCN) – A San Francisco man was ordered Thursday to stand trial for allegedly beating up a Catholic priest he claims molested him more than 35 years ago.

Prosecutors claim William Lynch, 43, attacked the Rev. Jerold Lindner, 65, last May at a retirement home for Jesuits in Los Gatos to exact revenge for the sexual abuse he says he suffered as a child.

Lynch’s attorney, Pat Harris, said Santa Clara County Judge David Cena ruled that Lynch must be tried on one felony count of assault. The judge declined a request to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor.

The ruling was made after a one-day preliminary hearing that began Wednesday and included testimony from three witnesses.

Cena scheduled Lynch for an arraignment on Feb. 22.

Lynch faces a maximum sentence of four years in prison, said Harris, who expects the trial to take place this summer.

“We feel strongly the jury will come back with a not guilty verdict when they’ve seen all the evidence,” Harris said.  “They’ve got the wrong man on trial. They should have been trying Father Lindner and the priests at the Jesuit center.”

Lynch hopes the case will lead to changes in the statute of limitations, which has prevented prosecution of past sex abuse cases, Harris said.

Lindner has repeatedly denied abusing anyone and has never been criminally charged, though the siblings received $625,000 in a 1998 confidential settlement with the Jesuits for alleged abuse by the priest.

Prosecutor Vicki Gemetti with the Santa Clara County district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday.

Lynch has said he wants the case to go to trial so he can expose the alleged molestation, raise awareness of clergy abuse and encourage other victims to come forward.

“Somebody needs to be a face for this abuse and I’m prepared to put myself on the line,” Lynch told The Associated Press in an interview in November. “There’s nothing they can take from me that they haven’t already taken.”

Lynch says he and his brother were molested by Lindner during a weekend camping trip in the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1975. The boys, 7 and 4 at the time, were raped and forced to have oral sex with each other while Lindner watched, Lynch said.

Lynch says the childhood abuse has tormented him for years and contributed to alcohol abuse, depression, nightmares and his divorce.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (11)
  1. Kodiax says:

    I would have beat that p.o.s. priest harder and sooner.

  2. Mark says:

    They’re prosecuting the wrong man. OK, Lynch should have pursued charges before the statute of limitations ran out, but that doesn’t excuse the pervert priest’s unholy behavior. Lindner is just lucky he was beaten and not killed.

  3. obbop says:

    Harm the Pope’s representative while the Pope is the direct route to the Creator???!!!!!!!!!!!

    Surely an eternity in heck awaits that priest pummeler.

    Maybe even longer!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Chuck says:

    Oh dear God, please let me be a member of the jury.

  5. Joe says:

    I would convict. We don’t live in a vigilante society. I guess he spent the entire 650K and now he is back to play the victim card again and maybe get some more money.

  6. Loyola_Alum says:

    Man died suddenly within hours of being with Lindner

    From the windows outside the 5th floor courtroom on Wednesday could be seen the spot in the parking structure where James Chevedden’s blank notebook was found shortly after his sudden death in 2004. Chevedden was in the same courtroom building during the 3-hours immediately before his death. The police did not question Chevedden’s notebook being blank in spite of Chevedden being in the courthouse building for the 3-hours preceding death and Chevedden dying within 5-minutes of leaving the building.

    Three hours earlier Chevedden, alum of Jesuit Loyola High, Los Angeles was in front of the Courthouse with Fr. Jerold Lindner. Next to the Chevedden’s blank notebook was the card of Fr. Eugene Growney, S.J.

    Fr. Growney removed Fr. Lindner at Loyola High, Los Angeles due to sex abuse allegations. Fr. Growney has since died and was confined to the same building complex as Fr. Lindner at least during some of his last days.

  7. Bryan Sciver says:

    Let’s face it. The Cathalick Church which has as its base a one on one partnership with the Gambino Crime family. Just ask the grandson of Lucky Luciano. The Mafia pays the Church between 10 to 30 percent of their profit so the church can pay off judges, Congress men and women, and maintain safe house – you know the empty churches. The church doesn’t need people to attend them. They make their real money with criminals. The Vatican which is the financial center of the organization is one of the richest Countries on Earth. $15 billion in cash. Most of the money they get comes from crime families. So does it make any sense for the church to prevent same sex marriage? No. Most of the Cathalick Church leaders are pedophiles. They promote same sex relations for themselves but wish to control people by removing their birth control and rights and financial freedoms. The church is paying millions of dollars every day because of the Pedophile Priest of the Week. Just last year the Vatican had a huge Gay Priest Scandal.

  8. pat says:

    I would gladly go before the jury and tell them just how much these CREEPS that call themselves representatives of Christ impact even those not directly related to this case, but who have been betrayed by their pastor as I was in Los Altos years ago.
    If the Church would stop covering for these molesters and screen very carefully for new recruits that are not gay or mentally disturbed as all pedofiles must be, this disgraceful situation might stop.