Bloodied Priest Suffered Head, Body Injuries, Witness Testifies

By Sheila Sanchez
The Patch
June 26, 2012

William Lynch, right, emerges from the San Jose Hall of Justice Tuesday afternoon, June 26, 2012. Lynch's attorney Pat Harris is on the left.

A picketer holds a sign that reads, 'Father Jerry rapes,' after Tuesday's court proceedings in the trial against a San Francisco man accused of assaulting Los Gatos priest Jerold Lindner.

William Lynch emerges from the San Jose Hall of Justice Tuesday afternoon, June 26, 2012.

Santa Clara County Sheriff's deputy Rick Chaeff said he saw a beat-up Jerold Lindner at Sacred Heart Jesuit Center following an alleged attack in May 2010. The trial of defendant Willian Lynch resumes Wednesday morning.

Two Santa Clara County sheriff's deputies found a bloodied, bruised and lacerated priest when they arrived at the Los Gatos Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in May 2010 following a 911 call reporting an assault.

Deputies Rick Chaeff and Jonathan Seaton took the stand Tuesday afternoon during the trial of William Lynch, a San Francisco man accused of beating Rev. Jerold Lindner, who the defendant claims raped and sodomized him and his younger brother while on camping trips to the Santa Cruz Mountains in 1975.

Chaeff's account came after prosecutor Vicki Gemetti showed him several photographs of Lindner depicting injuries to the right side of his face, back of his head, his left ear, and his thigh area.

The deputy testified he saw bruising on Lindner's face and forehead and a ½-inch long laceration to his left eye, which was bleeding profusely. The deputy also found blood inside and outside of the priest's ear and a scrape on the right side of his face.

Chaeff said the priest's chest area and T-shirt were covered by blood from the eye laceration.

The deputy interviewed Lindner for about 45 minutes in his room and said the priest was reluctant to be taken to the hospital for his injuries.

The deputy also called his sergeant and his beat partner, deputy Jonathan Seaton, to help him photograph and collect evidence.

Chaeff said he also interviewed retired center health care employee Mary Margaret Eden and retired receptionist Carol Santos. Both Santos and Eden were upset, he said, and concerned about what they believed was the beating of the priest.

Santos told Chaeff someone identifying himself as Erik had called the center at around noon that day trying to get in touch with Linder.

Jim Cook, a wireless communications expert, took the stand Tuesday morning to give testimony about Lynch's cell phone calls to the center the day of the incident. Rural Metro emergency technician Jeremy Broce also testified about treating Lindner for his injuries.

On Monday, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge David A. Cena ordered Lindner's testimony be stricken from the record and granted the priest's Fifth Amendment invocation against self-incrimination. The judge also denied two mistrial motions alleging prosecutorial misconduct and perjury.

Judge Cena also rejected a third mistrial motion on Tuesday and denied Lynch's attorneys Pat Harris and Paul Mones' request to put three alleged abuse victims of Lindner's on the stand.

A defiant Harris said after the day's proceedings that he looked forward to calling his client to the stand on Friday to testify how Lindner allegedly destroyed his client's life when he sexually abused him 35 years ago.

Lynch, 43, has been arraigned on one count 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. He has pleaded not guilty to both charges.

Lynch's supporters, who include members of the Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests, have been regularly attending the trial that began June 20. The supporters have used the case to speak out against sexual abuse crimes committed by priests and religious brethren in several orders of the Roman Catholic Church.

Many have been protesting daily outside the San Jose Hall of Justice with picket signs that read "Father Jerry rapes our kids," and "Catholic Church stop harboring pedophiles."

Lindner has denied the abuse charges in the past and did so again while giving testimony in the trial as the prosecution's key witness. It is not immediately clear what impact the striking of his testimony will have, but at least one legal analyst has told the media that it could undercut the prosecution's case against Lynch.

Christina Smith, a spokeswoman for Lynch's family, said Lindner helped at camping trips run by the St. Ambrose Catholic Church in Albany that were organized by her mother, Kathleen Smith, who invited Lindner to participate.

She said although Lindner didn't sexually molest her, he is believed to have molested at least 12 victims, including Lynch and his brother. In 1998, Lynch and his brother filed a civil lawsuit against the Jesuit order and received $625,000 in an out-of-court settlement.


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