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Man acquitted of beating abusive priest

July 5, 2012 at 10:00 PM

SANTA CLARA, Calif., July 5 (UPI) -- A jury in Santa Clara, Calif., Thursday acquitted a man accused of felony assault for beating a priest he said had sexually abused him when he was a child.

The jury also found Will Lynch of San Francisco not guilty of misdemeanor elder abuse in the 2010 attack on the Rev. Jerold Lindner, but was unable to reach a verdict on a misdemeanor-assault charge, resulting in a mistrial on that count, the San Jose Mercury News reported.

Lindner has not been prosecuted for the alleged attacks on Lynch and others, because the statute of limitations had expired before Lindner's alleged victims went public about their experiences.

Lynch faced the possibility of spending four years in prison, rejecting a possible plea bargain, the newspaper said.

Prosecutors conceded during the trial that Lindner -- who is listed as a sex offender by his religious order, the Society of Jesus, commonly known as Jesuits -- molested Lynch and his brother during a camping trip in the 1970s, but argued the attack did not warrant the attack on Lindner.

After the verdict was read, Lynch said he intends to establish a non-profit organization to help abuse victims and work to repeal the statute of limitations in child abuse cases, the Mercury News reported.

"I was wrong for doing what I did -- in doing that I perpetuated the cycle of violence," he said. "But if there is anything I want people (who have been molested) to take away from this -- it is you can come forward, you can seek justice and you can find justice in many forms."

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