Priest at center of attack trial starts testifying

June 21, 2012 • National News

William Lynch listens during an interview in San Francisco, Monday, June 18, 2012. Lynch was charged with savagely beating Rev. Jerold Lindner. Lynch dreamed for years about confronting the Jesuit priest he says molested him and his little brother more than 30 years ago during a camping trip. Now, as Lynch prepares to go to trial on felony assault and elder abuse charges for attacking Lindner in the lobby of his retirement home.(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

SAN JOSE, Calif. (AP) — The priest at the heart of an assault trial testified Wednesday that he never molested the man accused of assaulting him.

Lawyers say the Rev. Jerold Lindner was called to the witness stand late Wednesday in the San Jose trial of William Lynch. Lindner was expected to continue testifying Thursday and endure cross-examination where he will be asked again whether he abused Lynch.

Lynch, 44, is accused of beating the Lindner in May 2010 at a Los Gatos retirement home for priests near San Jose. He has pleaded not guilty, and his trial began with opening statements Wednesday. Lynch claims Lindner raped him in 1975 when he was 7 years old.

Prosecutors concede Lindner is lying when he denies he molested Lynch and Lynch’s 4-year-old brother during a church camping trip, but prosecutors also argue that’s no defense against assault charges. The Catholic Church earlier settled a civil lawsuit the brothers filed.

Outside court, Lynch’s attorney called for prosecutors to charge Lindner with perjury. Santa Clara deputy district attorney Vicki Gemetti didn’t respond to email and phone inquiries.

Earlier she told the jury she expected Lindner to falsely deny sexually abusing Lynch.

Nonetheless, she said “it is unmistakeable he was beaten” and that Lynch is guilty of assault and elder abuse regardless of Lindner’s false denials and “past sins and crimes.”

Gemetti began her 20-minute opening by displaying a blown-up photograph of a bruised and bloodied Lindner slumped in a chair. She implored jurors to focus Login to read more

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