What to do if you’re Will Lynch (pictured), a 43-year-old San Francisco man, who’s still just a bit upset over being molested by his priest — and forced to have sex with his own brother in the woods — when he was a boy? You find that priest and kick his ass. And then get arrested.
Lynch was released on $25,000 bail yesterday after surrendering to police earlier in the day. Facing charges of assault with a deadly weapon for attacking the Rev. Jerold Lindner — known as Father Jerry — on May 10. Lynch allegedly stopped by the Jesuit Sacred Heart Retirement Center in Los Gatos, where his 65-year-old former Jesuit priest lives, under the guise of a visitor delivering news of a family member’s death; instead, police say Lynch began punching him in the lobby in front of others and fleeing on foot when Lindner fell to the ground.
And that’s the difference between Lynch and Lindner: Lynch allegedly assaulted the priest in front of on-lookers, while Lindner allegedly assaulted the then-7-year-old boy and his 5-year-old brother Bart without witnesses. (The woods sure can be a private place!) And perhaps that’s why Lindner was never charged with any abuse, and Lynch faces felony charges and four years in prison.
Lindner and the church did, however, pay a $625,000 settlement to Lynch and his brother in 1998 following allegations of the 1975 molestation in the Santa Cruz Mountains, which included forced oral sex between the brothers, as well as physical torture of the boys (Lindner allegedly sodomized Will during the fellatio). Lindner has faced accusations of sexual abuse from at least a dozen other victims, including nieces and nephews and his own sister when they were as young as three. None of which kept Lindner from the church: Despite being named in two sexual abuse lawsuits in the years before and after the Lynch boys’ abuse, Lindner was removed from the church only in 2001 and sent to the Jesuit retirement home. Those cases settled in 2007 as part of a $660 million deal with 550 plaintiffs.
Lynch has faced a world of hurt since the molestation, reportedly attempting suicide twice and suffering from depression and alcohol abuse. In a 2002 interview, Lynch told the LAT, “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. You can’t put into words what this guy did to me. He stole my innocence and destroyed my life.” But he’s likely out of luck if he wants to see Lindner criminally prosecuted: the 35-year-old crime falls outside the statute of limitations. And given Lindner spent 16 years teaching at the Los Angeles area Loyola High School, where he formed after school clubs, I would imagine there are more stories out there too late to punish Lindner with.
After driving himself to the hospital to tend to his cuts and bruisers, Lindner is back at the retirement home, where depending on who you ask, he either “cares for” some 75 infirm priests or communes with other sex offenders: A $7.5 million settlement was paid to two developmentally disabled dishwashers who alleged sexual abuse at the retirement hom.; Lindner befriended Br. Charles Connor, one of the men accused of the abuse.