Man Attacks Priest He Claims Molested Him 35 Years Ago

43-year-old William Lynch was arrested by police in Santa Clara, California on Friday for the May 10, 2010 attack on Jesuit Priest Jerold Lindner.

The AP reports on the attack and the decades-long anger that apparently led up to it:

Lynch During a confrontation at the Jesuits’ Sacred Heart retirement home in Los Gatos, Calif., Mr. Lynch repeatedly punched Father Lindner in the face and body after the priest said he did not recognize him, said Sgt. Rick Sung, a spokesman for the Santa Clara County Sheriff’s Department. Mr. Lynch and his younger brother settled with the Jesuits of the California Province, a Roman Catholic religious order, for $625,000 in 1998 after accusing Father Lindner of abusing them in 1975 during weekend camping trips in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Mr. Harris said the boys, who were 7 and 5 at the time, were raped and forced to have oral sex with each other while Father Lindner watched. Father Lindner, 65, has been accused of abuse by nearly a dozen people, including his sister and nieces and nephews.

Investigators connected Mr. Lynch to the attack using phone records, Sergeant Sung said. A half-hour before the episode, a caller identifying himself as Eric called the home and said someone would arrive shortly to inform Father Lindner of a family member’s death. Father Lindner was able to drive himself to the hospital after the attack. He did not return a call left on his answering machine. He has previously denied abusing the Lynch boys and has not been criminally charged. The abuse falls outside the statute of limitations.

The attack was foreshadowed in an interview Lynch conducted with the LA Times in 2002 in which he told the newspaper: “Many times I thought of driving down to L.A. 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.”


  1. Scott says

    Good for him. As far as I’m concerned he could have done much more and be morally sound. I can’t imagine anyone defending the amoral Catholic church or anyone associated with it. Your local church may not have been involved in any of this but the church and its hierarchy has the blood of little kids’ ripped anuses on its collective dick and hands.

  2. Beast says

    Not to sound like a complete whore or anything, but William Lynch is quite a fine looking man.

  3. CoMo'mo says

    @Beast–well, he is, and it’s shameful that he should have been subjected to some things that have left him so knotted up in anger for so long. It’s a whited sepulcher thing.I hope the catharis enables him to get on with life and add inner peace to his apparent outer beauty.

  4. chasmader says

    I agree with Scott. Good for him!

    Especially as this particular piece of garbage is an unrepentant serial child-rapist.

    One can only imagine the reception waiting for him in the hereafter (if you are a believer).

  5. justiceontherocks says

    Give Lynch a medal.

    The Roman catholic church is one of the most despicable institutions ever created. No one with an ounce of decency can be affiliated with it.

  6. Joe says

    While he is obviously justified, there is something sad about the fact that to get his just due he has to put himself in jail to do it.

    I really think that the statute of limitations should be changed for cases like this. A lot of children who were abused aren’t able to stand up for themselves until years or decades later, when it is not legal to prosecute. That’s why you have incidents like this happening.

    @Beast, TRUTH!

  7. pete says

    karma’s a bitch. And yes, now that you mention it, I too am surprised this sort of thing doesn’t happen more often. In fact, this is the first I’ve ever heard of personal retribution. God forgive me, but I do like the idea of these rapists priests living in fear that tomorrow they just might get the shit kicked out of them. And I LOVE the idea that the RC hierarchy – previously worried about losing cash and property to victims, can now worry about losing a few teeth as well.

  8. patrick nyc says

    The douche bag got off lucky, Lynch showed restraint in not using a baseball bat or attacking him late at night when Linder was alone. The sickest part is the Church is still fighting many of these cases still today, and refusing to turn over all the information it has on these sick priests.

  9. Ninong says

    The Case of Father Jerry:

    That tells you everything you need to know about why I am pleased that William Lynch was finally able to punch out Father Jerry. If the Catholic Church refuses to punish this man in any way, then somebody has to do it for them. Father Jerry’s own brother and sister have both threatened to kill him if they ever see him again. This monster molesteed his own nieces and nephews!

    I’m sure Father Jerry confessed his “serious sins” to his local Father Superior, who told him Ego Te Absolvo my son, now go in peace. Isn’t it nice that in the Catholic Church all you have to do is go to Confession and then everything is forgiven and you are free to start all over again?

    All is forgiven and forever kept confidential under pain of excommunication. Secrecy is extremely important to the Church, especially if it involves something that would harm the reputation of the Church. Harm to the children is only a second thought of minor importance.

  10. vegetablelollipop says

    It’s a terrible thing to advocate for violence. Sure: I’ve been angry enough to advocate for violence against assholes, but I still know that all violence is wrong and dehumanizing.

    It’s also an awful thing for some gay men to hypersexualize a man’s photo in a post that addresses his and his brother’s sexual assault at the hands of a pedophile priest. It’s beyond rude and it truly misses the point of this post! This kind of hypersexualization is one of the worse stereotypes of gay men: in this stereotype even during a car crash or at a funeral, if the man is “hot” then gay men sextalk and cruise. (This is also a stereotype of straight male “pigs” who always eroticize women, regardless of the context; sadly, many gay men appropriate the term “pig” and act in concert with this male stereotype.) Inappropriate sextalk at the time when we are talking about ***child abuse*** is so disgusting, gentlemen, and you wonder why some people say that many gay men are overly sexual at the wrong times and in the wrong places! Ridiculous and damaging!

    With this said, I hope this man gets acquitted. He was obviously suffering from a post traumatic stress episode. By not admitting his guilt, the priest continues to abuse and assault this man and so, in my eyes, the man was acting in self-defense.

  11. Ninong says

    The following quote from the book, “A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church,” by Rembert G. Weakland, Archbishop Emeritus of Milwaukee, is revealing: “We all considered sexual abuse of minors as a moral evil, but had no understanding of its criminal nature.”

    Weakland said he initially “accepted naively the common view that it was not necessary to worry about the effects on the youngsters: either they would not remember or they would ‘grow out of it.’ ”

    That memoir by the former Archbishop of Milwaukee was published in June of last year. This is the same man who authorized the secret payment of $450,000 in church funds to pay hush money to a former boyfriend.

  12. Ninong says

    Good for you, William Lynch. You did something a lot of us have wanted to do our whole lives. I hope that you will now have a little more peace in your life.

    Not many people know just how horrible the Catholic Church has been in covering up clerical sex abuse. The Vatican gave strict orders that clerical sexual abuse of minors was never to be reported to local law enforcement. Cardinal Ratzinger, then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, reiterated this position in his May 2001 letter to all Catholic bishops.

    Ratzinger’s letter states that the church can claim jurisdiction in cases where abuse has been ‘perpetrated with a minor by a cleric’. All reports of sexual abuse were to be investigated by the local bishop in strict secrecy under penalty of automatic excommunication (latae sententiae). If found credible, the results of the investigation were to be forwarded to Cardinal Ratzinger’s office for further processing, which could take years.

    In those rare cases where the accused was found guilty, “punishment” was usually a year or so at a monastery for prayer and contemplation.

  13. unokhan says

    beast merely stated what everyone thought as soon as they saw the foto, and stated it rather decently.

    as for corporal punishment, doesn’t accepting $625,000 in retribution sort of disallow mr. lynch that extralegal indulgence?

  14. vegetablelollipop says

    Actually, unokhan, with respect, it is INDECENT to sexualize a man’s photo in a post about child abuse.

    And I don’t think EVERYONE (every man and every woman) who reads the post and sees the photo immediately thinks: “Oh he’s HAWT” or “I wanna do him.” Some men and women just say, “I’m so sorry for this man and I hope his healing can begin anew.”

    Just saying.


  15. Ninong says

    @Joe, don’t worry, he’s not in jail. He surrendered with his attorney and immediately posted $25,000 bail.

    It’s San Jose, California — he won’t do any jail time. You can take that to the bank.

    I believe Bart and William have a lawsuit pending against the Vatican. I hope it’s not thrown out like all the others have been.

    Please read this article from the Guardian:

  16. mad1026 says

    Why is the catholic church, with its cult of child sexual abuse by persons in authority, still allowed tax exempt status? It’s not bad enough Ratzi is a Nazi, the cult gets a free pass from the government of the United States of America? Mormons, and catholics, and Palin, oh my!

  17. Guest says

    I’m really not surprised that it only took two comments before someone focused on the attractiveness of the main subject of the story.

    Because for us gay men, all that really matters in the news is how hot the guys are. Other details are secondary, or irrelevant.


  18. jaragon says

    The evil bastard priest got exactly what he deserve- hopefully a worse fate awaits for him in hell.

  19. patrick nyc says

    Some men and women just say, “I’m so sorry for this man and I hope his healing can begin anew.”

    Just saying.

    That was my first thought, no matter how he looked, I hope that he heals, then I too thought, good looking man. Most men are wired differently than women Brenda. When most straight men see women that part of the brain that goes to looks or attraction is hit, from what I’ve heard and seen it is not the same with women. The same I have found in gay men, we may have different desires then straight men, but we are wired in this way as well.

    Not a judgement, just my own observation.

  20. DR says

    So, let’s see if we get the timeline correct for those questioning the statute of limitations…

    claims he was abused in 1975.
    obtains a settlement in 1998.
    beats the priest up in 2010.

    There was ample time, even under the worst case, to report this to the police and have charges filed.

    I will not condone the sexual abuse of minors, but I will not applaud vigilantism and physically abusive self-help.

    Maybe he should have taken some of the money he got from the Church and gotten some good counseling. Sounds like it would have helped in a big way.

  21. Ninong says

    Christopher Hitchens wrote an interesting article in Salon a few months ago about the Vatican’s cover-up:

    I already posted the link to this 2005 article in the Guardian that discusses Cardinal Ratzinger’s letter of May 2001 telling all Catholic bishops that they are not allowed to contact local law enforcement in cases of ‘child abuse’ because the Vatican claims jurisdiction:

    It is ironic that in the 21st century nations around the world still recognize the Vatican as a sovereign state. No other religious organization in the world enjoys the privileges of diplomatic immunity.

    The obstruction of justice by the Catholic hierarchy in every country in the world is beyond belief. Here’s just a sample of what has been uncovered in the U.S.:

    And finally, let me repeat that ‘Father’ Jerry Lindner molested his own nieces and nephews! He repeatedly raped the 11-year-old son of his brother Larry. Larry’s a cop! Larry has threatened to kill him if he ever sees him again. The Jesuit Order and the Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles have already paid out millions of dollars to settle claims against this priest out of court. He has never been brought to trail because all of the claims were settled out of court.

  22. ty says

    your right Guest, we are a pathetic group which focuses solely on looks, not unlike our straight brothers who focus solely on tits.

  23. says

    Hard to blame him, but keeping those impulses in check is part of our responsibility as members of an adult society. DR is right, he needed major counseling, not license to walk into a retirement home and beat up an old man. If we condone this man’s admittedly understandable violence, how then can we condemn some straight man who finds out that the woman he’s dating has a penis and has been lying to him? Both outbursts are justifiable, but both are inappropriate and toxic to a peaceful community.

    And yeah, noting this man’s obvious physical attractiveness is in rather poor taste.

  24. TANK says

    Good for him! He should have done it less conspicuously if he wanted to save himself the trouble, but this was probably part of the catharsis. Old men die all of the time, and this one could have easily succumbed to age related illness without so much as a passing curiosity.

    Pedophiles are not punished either in the churches (and catholicism doesn’t even make nearly the majority of pedophile christian pedo scandals) or, really, in the prisons. They get light sentences for the most part, and their victims seldom ever live a normal life. They are beyond therapy, and ironically, so are their victims.

  25. gregv says

    “Hypersexualized” comments? One commenter used four words (“a fine looking man”) and, whether it was the time or place to state that elephant in the room, that’s the sum total of how “hypersexualized” any comment here got. (And the words used are about as sexual as something a typical grandmother would say to her grandson when he’s dressed up for church.)

    Brenda, your paraphrases are premature as they go WAY beyond the actual comment.

    @Guest and Brenda: There are literally over 100 times more words in these comments dealing with issues such as acknowledging an understanding of where the rage came from than having anything to do with what he looks like, and there are zero comments that are truly “hypersexual.”
    If there actually had been any crossing an obvious line (which has been known to happen), I would agree your criticism.

  26. kevin dement says

    The pope won’t do anything so this guy took the law into his own hands! I usually dont condone violence, but I can see the just cause in this case. Bravo sir!

  27. says

    I don’t condone violence, but this is what happens when justice is denied in the courts.

    And shame on the Catholic Church. Regardless of the statute of limitations, you could still do something for the victims of abuse to help them deal with the horrors your church inflicted upon them.

  28. Houndentenor says

    Can someone explain to me how this priest was not removed from the church after costing the archdiocese over a half million dollars to settle this lawsuit?

    I’m in the minority, but I can’t condone violence. I understand the frustration that led to that but this guy clearly needs some counseling at the expense of the RCC (not FROM the RCC).

    I refuse to set foot in a Catholic church and that means turning down gigs sometimes. It’s not that I don’t want to as much as I just can’t make myself do it for a lousy few hundred dollars. At this point it’s a criminal organization. If a secular organization was still hiding pedophiles from prosecution they whole lot would be facing prosecution.

  29. MrRoboto says

    I’m not condoning violence in any way, but those who keep calling for Mr. Lynch to go through therapy/counseling seem to be pretty arrogantly assuming that he has not already done so. I don’t know your situations, but from your comments and suggestions one could easily construe that your life has never been touched by sexual violence and the everlasting scars it leaves behind. It is most definitely not the same, but one of my closest girlfriends was brutally raped during college. She’s gone through therapy countless times and always seemingly managed to get things in check. Then something out of the blue can happen in her day (the triggers are never logical or foreseeable) and she’s right back in that abyss of fear and vulnerability. In this case, it seems that both the Church and the legal establishment continued the abuse of this man and rewarded his abuser (*nothing* bad happened to that monster), and no, I’m sorry, a $625,000 payoff does not paper over the lifetime of psychological damage done to this poor man. That his own personal horror was reignited this far down the line yet again is proof of that. If he does one day of time for this “crime,” the legal establishment will simply be raping him all over again.

  30. Ricco says

    Beast’s only comment was what a fine looking man William Lynch is, so yes . . . complete whore is what you sound like.

    Moving on.

    It’s pathetic really, that people are forced to such extremes to find any justice in the world. Statue of Limitations: WTF!! They are still hunting down Nazi war criminals.

    I don’t know what makes one more palatable than the other. When it comes to criminals that have offended the state, there is no statue of limitation, and there ought not to be one for any crime of violence.

    I feel bad for Mr. Lynch, for whatever troubles lie ahead. I feel certain that whatever that fraking priest got at the hands of William Lynch fell short of what he deserved.

    Of course there is the counterargument to be made that should individuals, like My. Lynch, be making that determination.

    Apparently it was up to Mr. Lynch to make that determination, since the government failed miserably to do so, but I would point out that since the old fraking pervert is still alive, was well enough to drive himself to a hospital, that Mr. Lynch, in dispensing justice was blessedly merciful to him.

  31. FunMe says

    Even after so many years of abuse, the damage continues for those who were abused by the Catholic church pedophiles.

    It so sad to know about the pain and suffering that Mr. Lynch continues to feel.

    How horrible the damage the so-called “men of God” have caused in so many people, robbing them, as Mr. Lynch says, of their youth and innocence. My heart goes out to all the victims of these CATHOLIC MONSTERS. My prayers that they heal and can get back to living.

    Sometimes I think HELL exists now with these horrible people in a so-called church. And the Vatican is the #1 enablers of this horrible SIN. I hope the church continues to lose money and followers. How they could continue to exist with the horrible DEVIL-like attitude toward children, is beyond me.

    I feel no sympathy for the Priest and his Catholic “church”.

  32. unokhan says

    there is something odd going on here, reaching such a fevered pitch that in freudian circles it would have been called ‘reaction formation’.

    when you let out the genie of vigilantism, there is no way to know which direxion he will turn. be careful what you wish for, gentlemen.

  33. Ninong says

    @HOUNDENTENOR: Maybe I can clear up a couple of things for you. The Church did remove Fr Jerry Lindner from ‘active ministry’ but they did not defrock him. Instead, they assigned him to that nursing home to care for aging fellow priests.

    And that $625,000 settlement paid to Bart and William Lynch was paid by the Jesuit Order, not the archdiocese. However, claims against Lindner by other abuse/rape victims were included in the $166 million settlement approved by Roger Cardinal Mahoney, Archbishop of Los Angeles.

    Lindner has been accused of molesting his 5-year-old nephew in Arizona and Berkeley, he has been accused of molesting three nieces and of orally copulating and sodomizing his 11-year-old nephew. That’s in addition to orally copulating and sodomizing Bart and William Lynch when they were only 5 and 7 years old. He also forced the Lynch brothers to engage in mutual oral sex. More than a dozen victims have accused Lindner of sexual abuse/rape and he has allegedly admitted it to his brother and sister and to his Jesuit superiors.

    The Jesuits ordered Lindner to undergo ‘therapy’ on at least two or three occasions, sometimes lasting as long as nine months. It didn’t work.

    Getting back to Roger Mahony’s settlement with the victims, he did it in order to keep the details of the abuse quiet. That’s in spite of the fact that all of the records of abuse kept by the archdiocese had been cleaned up as much as possible before being turned over to the court, just as the Archdiocese of Portland had done. All of this was done on orders from the Vatican. The Vatican did not think the civil authorities had any business getting involved in clerical sexual abuse of minors. That’s a ‘sin’ that the Vatican held fell under their exclusive jurisdiction.

    The Vatican is still living in the 14th century.

  34. shanesoho says

    I hope Mr Lynch feels better, because I, an uninvolved party, feel soothed rage from reading the story. I despise the priest, and celebrate his attacker. But is it likely that Mr Lynch feels better? That’s really all that matters. Even if he had killed the priest, which I still think would be justifiable.

  35. Manni says

    I was also abused by an authority figure in my childhood, somebody who was publicly a homophobe but privately perverted, so I feel for this guy. For decades I fantasized about doing what William Lynch did (even worse), but for many reasons, I didn’t act on it, not the least because for many reasons, I can’t. The best I have been able to do, as an adult, is file multiple reports with the state attorney general. But at this point, however, I am embarking on a course of action of forgiveness, which for me means regarding him with some degree of compassion — I figure my abuser would not have behaved so monstrously if he himself had not been subject to cruelty in his life. But just continuing to hate the guy while I can’t do anything to him is taking up too much energy in my life than it is worth.

    And I also want to second the complaints about commenting on Mr. Lynch’s looks. In the context of his horrible trauma and the violent aftermath, such comments seem way inappropriate and frivolous.

  36. SteveC says

    I don’t support vigilantism. It is never justifiable. That said I’m not really surprised that William Lynch decided to take the law into his own hands. And I don’t condemn him. I condemn the fact that the child-rapist was not tried, convicted and jailed for life.

  37. Scott says

    Mysterious why so many Catholics still attend church and fund these activities. If it were even the Boy Scouts they would be sues out of business.

  38. Houndentenor says

    @NINONG Thank you. Facts are always helpful. But I noticed that it took them three years to remove him after the settlement. I can’t imagine why anyone still atends a Catholic church or gives them even one cent. Ratzinger is a criminal and should be treated that way by every nation in the world.

  39. walter says

    this priest got off lucky. somebody should have cut off his privates. sorry but he has no remorse and even did to his family members. he kept getting away with it and the church kept covering it up. the young man who punched him deserves a medal not a trial. if i were on the jury i would vote to convict the priest and the church. to people who still give to the church is hush money the way you want to see your money spent?

  40. ratbastard says

    …If I was William Lynch that priest who raped me and my brother,forcing us to have sex with each other[!]… 5+7 years old!….This POS would have been beaten to death with an aluminum baseball bat A LONG time ago. Mr. Lynch has shown remarkable restraint.

  41. astounded says

    Not to minimize Mr. Lynch’s very real tragedy and, I feel, justified actions, but there was a story arc in “Saving Grace”, beautifully and convincingly acted by Holly Hunter and Rene Auberjonois that addressed the same issue. It was satisfying to watch Grace exact her revenge on the priest who molested her for years as a child. Tied to a chair with raw steak in your crotch with a very hungry dog in the room, among other delights, is genius!

    I know Mr. Lynch is not a character in a show and I wish him the best. This business of housing these degenerates in comfort and ease is insane.

  42. Debbie - California says

    Good for WIlliam Lynch…..he deserves a medal…not
    jail time. No one should abuse a child like that…and
    then get to walk away to continue doing that under
    the cover of a priest. William Lynch is my new hero.

  43. arch says

    This man is almost exactly the same age as me, I cannot imagine what it must have been like to grow up and live one’s life following this abuse. The breach of trust alone would make forming normal human realationships difficult.

    As Mr Lynch says it ruined hs life. Of course this is no defence for such an attack but if it were me in his place…

    and yes it is wrong that these serious crimes of child abuse fall outside of limition.

  44. Mykelb says

    This priest raped children as young as age 3 and hasn’t paid the price for it. I believe he should be hung by his balls from the middle of the Hollywood Bowl for every child raping priest to see, and let him hang there until they rip off. Then they should put him in irons until he bleeds out dead.

  45. Jerry6 says

    Some of the comments expect that the priest will get his due in Hell. Come on folks! Doesn’t the fact that the priests, as well as higher ups in the organization, do not seem to worry about Hell for their evil acts because there is no Hell (Or Heaven; or Purgatory) All religions are nothing but the result of ancient “Fears of the unknown”. Gods were invented to explain natural acts like lightning and thunder and floods and volcano eruptions and all kinds other strange happenings. As a result, people like the Nazi pope are living in luxury laughing at the stupidity of the “Believers” who send him money every week so he doesn’t have to work for a living like the rest of us.