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Man Who Beat Predator Priest Found Not Guilty

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William Lynch, a 44-year-old man from California, was on trial for beating Jerry Lindner, a former priest, with his fists in May of 2010. Mr. Lynch has admitted attacking Lindner and was prepared to spend up to four years in jail if convicted. To Lynch, who along with his 4-year-old brother suffered sexual abuse by Lindner while camping in 1974, it was “a small sacrifice to get Father Jerry into court.” Ultimately, the jury found him not guilty of the felony charges he faced and deadlocked on the lesser counts.

Lindner is now in his late 60’s and lives in a Jesuit retirement community. He denies any wrongdoing, although other accusations have been made against him. William Lynch and his brother received a $625,000 settlement from the Catholic Church after filing a civil suit in 1997.

Lynch’s so-called vigilante attack became the center of a huge controversy. For decades, victims of sexual abuse have struggled to obtain any form of justice for the horrific wrongs they have suffered. Only in a handful of states have statutes of limitations been modified to address the problem of abused children who, to cope with their shame, either repress their memories of the attack or simply remain silent.