Rev. Jerold ("Jerry") W. Lindner, s.j.

Summary of Case: A priest of the California province of the Jesuit order, Lindner is accused of the sexual abuse of at least 12 children, ages 4-11, male and female. His accusers include his own sister, three nieces and a nephew. His abusive behavior is said to have first been discovered when he was a 10 year-old boy, in the 1950s, when his mother walked in on him molesting his 5-year-old sister. The Jesuits claim to have first learned of Lindner's alleged behavior in 1992 when Lindner's brother reported to them that Lindner had sexually abused his daughters. Lindner was sent for a psychiatric evaluation, the Jesuits deemed the allegations to be not credible, and he was put back in ministry. In 1997 Lindner was removed from ministry and sent to treatment after a man told the Jesuits that he and his brother were sexually assaulted by Lindner in 1975, when the boys were 7 and 4 years old. Lindner is said to have sodomized them, forced them to perform oral sex on each other, and to have threatened them. Lindner has denied all accusations. In May 2010 the man who accused Lindner of sexually assaulting him and his little brother in 1975 physically assaulted Lindner at a Jesuit retirement center in Los Gatos, CA, where Lindner was living. The man was arrested, and pleaded "not guilty". His trial began June 20, 2012; he was acquitted July 5, 2012.

: 1976


Start Stop Parish/Assignment Town/Accusations State Position Notes
1964 1966 Sacred Heart Novitiate Los Gatos CA seminarian Lindner began his Jesuit formation in 1964.
  1968 Loyola University Los Angeles CA student/seminarian  
1968 1970 St. Louis University St. Louis MO graduate student/seminarian Lindner was active with an urban boy scout troop while in St. Louis. His brother said Lindner took over an abandoned St. Louis house and made it into a home for homeless boys. Fr. Jerry Lindner lived there with the boys. Lindner's family indicated that he left St. Louis "under a cloud".
1970 1973 St. Ignatius College Prep. San Francisco CA teacher/seminarian  
1973 1976 Jesuit School of Theology Berkeley CA graduate student/seminarian Lindner was ordained at JSTB in 1976.


California Jesuit Provincial was Rev. Terrance L. Mahan, s.j. (1976-1982)

San Francisco archbishop was Joseph Thomas McGucken (1962-1977), follwed by John Raphael Qyinn (1977-1995)

Oakland bishops were (Floyd Lawrence Begin (1962-1977), followed by John Stephen Cummins (1977-2003)

1982 St. Ignatius College Prep.

San Francisco

Lindner is was accused of molesting at least six children during this time. One accuser was his nephew, who said Lindner sexually abused him repeatedly when he was 5 to 9 years old, in Arizona and in Berkeley, CA.

A man who came forward in 1997 accused Lindner of sexually assaulting him and his younger brother during Christian Family Movement camping trips in the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1975, when the brothers were ages 4 and 7. The abuse is said to have included sodomy and forcing the brothers to orally copulate each other, while Lindner watched. The older brother said Lindner threatened to hurt his younger brother if he didn't comply. The younger brother said Lindner threatened to kill him. Lindner also is said to have told the boys they would go to hell if they told. The older brother said, "[Lindner] destroyed my life." Lynch denied abusing anyone.

A woman in 2002 stated that when she was a 7-year-old girl in 1977 Lindner grabbed her, rubbing her up and down her body and kissing her "really passionately" while moaning. The assault is said to have occurred in her family's Oakland home.

Another woman accused Lindner of sexually assaulting her in 1976 when she was 10 years old, in her family's home in Oakland. Lindner was there to say mass for the family.

A nephew of Lindner disclosed having been sexually abused by his uncle for several nights during a family reunion in Arizona, when the boy was about 11 years old, in 1979.

In a 2003 lawsuit, Lindner was accused of molesting a girl at Corpus Christi parish in Piedmont, CA while he was a St. Ignatius teacher.

CA English teacher St. Ignatius was a Jesuit high school with 1,209-1,162 students, all male.
  1982 Boy Scouts Oakland CA Scoutmaster Lindner took boys on weekend camping and ski trips.
mid-1970s 1979 Christian Family Movement Oakland CA

Spiritual Advisor


Lindner said mass in people's homes, heard confessions, attended monthly parent meetings and took families on weekend camping trips. It was on several of these trips that he is said to have sexually assaulted two little boys.


Los Angeles archbishop was Timothy Manning (1970-1985), followed by Roger Michael Mahony (1985-2011)

Mahan was succeeded as California Jesuit Provincial by John W. Clark (1982-1988), followed by Rev. Paul Belcher, s.j. (1988-1993). Belcher was replaced by John A. Privett (1993-1999)

1997 Loyola High School

Los Angeles

Lindner was accused of molesting his brother's three young daughters in 1982, in their Los Angeles home. Two of the sisters said he would stick his tongue in their mouths. The youngest said he sodomized her three times, when she was 5 to 7 years old. She said he yelled, grabbed her hair, called her "dirty", and said "Bad things happen to little girls who open their mouths." She said he ruined her life.


English department Chair


Lindner was praised by the Loyola administration for his devotion to his students. He preferred to work with Freshman, and organized activities called "Lindner clubs", which included archery, backgammon, chess and a fantasy role-playing game. He also took boys on trips, including to Europe.

Loyola was a Jesuit high school with 1,071- 1,183 students, all male.

The Jesuits claimed to have first learned about allegations against Lindner in 1992 when Lindner's brother told them he had sexually abused three nieces, a nephew and a younger sister, and that his abusive behavior started when he was a child in the 1950s. The Jesuits sent Lindner to St. Luke Institute in Maryland for a psychiatric evaluation, deemed the allegations to be not credible, and put him back in ministry. Lindner's mother in 2002 stated that she believed the allegations against her son, and that "If he wasn't a priest and didn't have the Jesuits standing behind him, I think he would be in jail."

1982 1998 St. Thomas the Apostle Los Angeles CA assistant scoutmaster to Boy Scout troop  
Sept. 1997 May 1998 St. Luke Institute Silver Spring MD patient

Lindner is not indexed in the 1998 Directory, nor is he listed in the diocesan pages at his previous or next assignment.

Lindner was removed from ministry in late May 1997, after two brothers came forward to allege that Lindner sodomized them when they were little boys on weekend Christian Family Movement retreats. The brothers filed suit; the Jesuits settled with them on the condition that they not publicize the allegations. One of the brothers said there was no admission of wrongdoing or apology.

May 1998   Loyola High School Los Angeles CA In residence. Lindner was allowed to continue with his involvement with the Boy Scouts at nearby St. Thomas church after his 1997-1998 stay at St. Luke's Institute. The St. Thomas' pastor said he hadn't been told about the allegations against Lindner.


San Jose bishop was Roland Pierre DuMaine (1981-1999), succeeded by Patrick Joseph McGrath (1999-)

California Jesuit Provincial was Thomas H. Smolich (1999-2005)

2002 Jesuit Retreat House Los Altos CA   Lindner was barred from teaching at Loyola after the 1997 allegations. He was, however, allowed to travel and work as a language tutor. He earned a Master's Degree in linguistics at San Jose State, spent a few months in Paris to immerse himself in French culture, and taught English to foreign seminarians in California. He also was hired tin 2001 to teach English as a Second Language at Cal.State Dominguez Hills. That program's director in 2002 said he had not been informed of Lindner's background.

Sept. 2002

Rev. John McGarry, s.j. succeeded Smolich as California Jesuit Provincial (2005-2011). Michael F. Weller, s.j. replaced McGarry (2011-)

2012 Sacred Heart Jesuit Center Los Gatos CA  

In Dec. 2002 the CA Jesuit Provincial, Tom Smolich, said Lindner was barred from ministry with children and was not allowed to say Mass or hear confession in church, "For Jerry's sake and the public's sake."

Its website in June 2012 states, "Sacred Heart Jesuit Center (SHJC) houses independent seniors as well as those in need of assisted living or skilled nursing." Rev. Smolich stated in Dec. 2002, "'s a safe house for people accused of these actions." This was in reference to Lindner's transfer to SHJC. Smolich said also Lindner's "movements are supervised."

In May 2010 a man physically assaulted Lindner at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center. Lindner's assailant had accused Lindner in 1997 of raping and sodomizing him and his brother when they were ages 4 and 7. Lindner sustained bruises and several small cuts in the beating. His assailant was arrested after surrendering in October 2010. He pleaded not guilty to the charges of "felony assault with intent to cause great bodily injury and one count of elder abuse under circumstances likely to produce great bodily harm or death." Lindner's assailant's trial began June 20, 2012. He was acquitted.


Source: Official Catholic Directory (New York: P.J. Kenedy and Sons, 1977-2011)

- The Case of Father Jerry, by Alexander Cockburn And Jeffrey St. Clair, CounterPunch, June 15, 1999
The Accused, USA Today, November 11, 2002
- Jesuit Priest Accused of Sexual Abuse, By Crystal Carreon, San Jose Mercury News (California), December 14, 2002
- L.A. Priest Blamed for Legacy of Pain, By Glenn F. Bunting, Los Angeles Times, December 14, 2002
- Residents Question Accused Priest's Freedom, By Richard Scheinin and Dana Hull, San Jose Mercury News (California), December 15, 2002
- LA Archdiocesan Report, Feb. 17, 2004, page 5
- Addendum to LA Archdiocesan Report, Oct. 12, 2005
- LA Times Database, April 20, 2006
- Abuse Was Common in Religious Orders, By Jeremy Herb and Rob Dennis, San Jose Mercury News, April 1, 2008
- Accused Clerics, Contra Costa Times, April 1, 2008
- Provincial Superiors of the California Province, Society of Jesus, Blessed Sacrament Parish, April 5, 2010
- Provincial Superiors of the California Province, Society of Jesus, Dan Peterson, S.J., Archivist, California Province in 10/04/05.
- Alleged Calif Clergy Abuse Victim Arrested in Revenge Beating of Priest, By Gillian Flaccus, Terry Chea, Fox 59, October 29, 2010
- Arrest in Revenge Beating of Priest at Los Gatos Retirement Home, By Sean Webby, Mercury News, October 29, 2010
- Arrest in Alleged Revenge Beating of Priest at Los Gatos Retirement Home, By Sean Webby, Mercury News, October 30, 2010
- Man in California, William Lynch, Arrested in Beating of Priest Who Sexually Abused Him 35 Years Ago, By Philip Caulfield, New York Daily News, October 31, 2010
- Paedophile Priest's Victim Smiles As He's Arrested for a 'Revenge Beating' 35 Years Later, Daily Mail, November 1, 2010
- Man Arrested after Suing the Vatican, By Tim Hull, Courthouse News Service, November 1, 2010
- Jesuit Priest Beaten to Avenge Alleged 1975 Sex Abuse, Say Calif. Cops, CBS News, November 1, 2010
- 911 Tape: Assailant Heard Threatening to Kill Priest Who Allegedly Abused Him, By Tracey Kaplan, Mercury News, November 4, 2010
- AP Exclusive: Suspect Turns Case against Priest, Associated Press, November 12, 2010
- Man Accused of Beating Priest Appears in Court, ABC 30, November 12, 2010
- Alleged Victim to Highlight Priest's Abuse at Assault Trial, By Kevin Dolak, ABC News, November 14, 2010
- Revenge Attack on Priest Calls Attention to Statute of Limitations on Sex Cases, By Tracey Kaplan, Mercury News, December 6, 2010 Victim Advocates Question Security around Defrocked Jesuit Brethren, By Sheila Sanchez, Los Gatos Patch, January 11, 2011
- Witness: Priest Who Injured in Revenge Beating on "List" of Alleged and Convicted Molesters, By Tracey Kaplan, Santa Cruz Sentinel,
February 9, 2011
- Jury Selection Begins Today in Los Gatos Priest Beating Case, By Sheila Sanchez, The Patch, May 14, 2012
- Sex Abuse Victim Charged in Attack on Priest in Los Gatos Looks Forward to Day in Court, By Tracey Kaplan, Oakland Tribune, June 15, 2012
- Sex abuse victim charged in attack on priest in Los Gatos looks forward to day in court, By Tracey Kaplan,, June 17, 2012
- Supporters Surface to Stand behind Defendant in Priest-Beating Case, By Tracey Kaplan, Marin Independent Journal, June 19, 2012
- Will Lynch Trial Update: Prosecutor Tells Jurors She Expects Priest 'Will Lie to You', By Tracey Kaplan and Robert Salonga, Mercury News, June 20, 2012
- Priest at Center of Attack Trial Starts Testifying, By Gillian Flaccus and Paul Elias, WNEM, June 21, 2012
- Trial Begins for Man Who Beat Priest He Says Molested Him, By Maria L. La Ganga, Los Angeles Times, June 21, 2012
- Defrocked Los Gatos Jesuit Priest Denies Molestation, By Sheila Sanchez, The Patch, June 21, 2012
- How Sex Abuse Victim Finally Got Predator Priest into Court, By Alyssa Newcomb, ABC News, June 21, 2012
- Judge in Priest Beating Case Sends Jury Home for the Week without Explanation, By Tracey Kaplan, Marin Independent Journal, June 21, 2012
- Los Gatos Priest Confronted outside Courtroom, Trial Continues Monday, By Sheila Sanchez, The Patch, June 22, 2012
- Defense Attorneys in Priest Beating Seek Mistrial, Santa Cruz Sentinel, June 22, 2012
- Defense Requests Mistrial in Case of Beaten Priest, By Karina Rusk, KGO, June 22, 2012
- Defense Files Motion for Mistrial in Will Lynch Case, KTVU, June 22, 2012
- Attorneys Seek Mistrial over Priest's Testimony, Marin Independent Journal, June 22, 2012
- Attorneys Seek Mistrial over Priest's Testimony, Ventura County Star, June 23, 2012
- Will Lynch Trial: Defense Alleges Prosecutorial Misconduct, By Tracey Kaplan, Oakland Tribune, June 25, 2012
- San Jose: Judge Rejects Motions for Mistrial; Priest Beating Case to Resume Testimony, By Tracey Kaplan, Marin Independent, Journal, June 25, 2012
- 2nd Mistrial Motion Filed in Calif. Priest Case, Ventura County Star, June 25, 2012
- Judge Denies Mistrial Motion in William Lynch Case, By Sheila Sanchez, The Patch, June 25, 2012
- Judge Rejects Lynch Defense Team Mistrial Motion, KTVU, June 25, 2012
- Judge Tosses Priest's Testimony in Assault Case, Contra Costa Times, June 25, 2012
- Priest Pleads 5th in William Lynch Trial, By Breena Kerr, NBC Bay Area, June 25, 2012
- Will Lynch Priest-beating Trial: Judge Deals Another Blow to Defendant but His Lawyers Rally, By Tracey Kaplan, Mercury News, June 26, 2012
- Bloodied Priest Suffered Head, Body Injuries, Witness Testifies, By Sheila Sanchez, The Patch, June 26, 2012
- Will Lynch Priest Beating Trial: Judge Clears Courtroom, Issues Warning to Public, By Tracey Kaplan, Oakland Tribune, June 27, 2012
- Priest Assault Trial Resumes with Abuse Allegation, By Paul Elias, Sacramento Bee, June 27, 2012
- William Lynch Yelled He Was Sexually Molested, Witness Says, By Sheila Sanchez, The Patch, June 27, 2012
- The Wild, Wild West: a Week in the Priest Abuse-assault Trial, By Christopher Schumb, San Jose Inside, June 28, 2012
- Alleged Rape Victim Acquitted in Priest Assault, By Kevin Fagan, San Francisco Chronicle, July 5, 2012

Priests in a Parish: We use the following convention to show a priest's place among the clergy of a parish: 1/2 means that he is the first priest listed in the Official Catholic Directory (usually the pastor) and that there is a total of two priests at the parish. The shorthand 3/4 means that the priest is listed third on a four-priest roster. See our sample page from the Directory.

Note: The Official Catholic Directory aims to report the whereabouts of Catholic priests in the United States on January 1 of the Directory's publication year. Our working assumption is that a priest listed in the Directory for a given year was at the same assignment for part of the previous year as well. However, Kenedy and Sons will sometimes accept updates well into the year of publication. Diocesan clergy records are rarely available to correct this information. The Directory is also sometimes misleading or wrong. We have tried to create an accurate assignment record, given the source materials and their limitations. Assignment records are a work in progress and we are always improving the records that we post. Please email us with new information and corrections.

This assignment record collates Lindner's career history as it is represented in the Official Catholic Directory with allegations as reported in the media. We make no representation regarding the truth of the allegation we report, and we remind our readers that the U.S. legal system presumes that a person accused of or charged with a crime is innocent until proven guilty. Similarly, individuals who may be defendants in civil actions are presumed not to be liable for such claims unless a plaintiff proves otherwise. Admissions of guilt or liability are not typically a part of civil or private settlements. For more information, see our posting policy.

This assignment record was last updated on February 25, 2021.