SAN JOSE, Calif. – A man allegedly molested three decades ago by a priest was arrested Friday on charges that he lured the clergyman to the lobby of a Jesuit retirement home and 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 Rev. Jerold Lindner to the hospital with bruises and lacerations, said Sgt. Rick Sung, Santa Clara County sheriff’s spokesman.
Lynch harbored a fantasy for years of confronting the priest, who also allegedly molested his younger brother.
Sung said Lynch attacked the 65-year-old priest after he failed to recognize the younger man at the Jesuits’ Sacred Heart retirement home in Los Gatos, Calif. The attack occurred in a room adjoining the lobby.
“They’re saying it was pretty close to beating him to death,” defense attorney Pat Harris told the Associated Press. “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 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.
Lynch was to be released on $25,000 bail, Harris said. The attorney negotiated his client’s surrender and said Lynch will plead not guilty at his arraignment.
Police connected Lynch to the attack using phone records, 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.
Lindner has previously denied abusing the Lynch boys and has not been criminally charged. The abuse falls outside the statute of limitations.