SAN FRANCISCO: Jury Acquits Man Of Beating The Priest He Says Molested Him
Today a San Francisco jury found Will Lynch (left) not guilty on two felony charges of beating the priest he says sexually abused him as a child.
The jury found Will Lynch not guilty of felony elder abuse and felony assault for a confrontation with Rev. Jerold Lindner. It also found Lynch not guilty of misdemeanor elder abuse, but deadlocked 8-4 in favor of a conviction on misdemeanor assault. The verdict was a triumph for Will Lynch, now 44, and his supporters, who faithfully packed the Santa Clara County courtroom as the assault trial -- normally a brief event -- stretched over three weeks. From accusations of prosecutorial misconduct to a confrontation in the hallway between the priest and one of his alleged molestation victims, the trial was roiled by disruptions. "My heart leaps," said Will Lynch's younger sister Amanda Lynch of her reaction when she heard the verdict. "After 35 years, justice has been served," said Kathleen Smith, 83, one of Lynch's supporters who helped organize the camping trips during which Lindner allegedly sexually molested Lynch and his brother more than 35 years ago.Linder was never charged with molesting his eleven accusers due to the statute of limitations. The Jesuits have paid Lynch, his brother, and several others almost $3M in restitution, including a $786K payment to Linder's own niece. Before the verdict was reached, the jury had asked the judge for the definition of nullification, which is when a jury refuses to convict even though they believe the evidence justifies it.