A California man who beat up a retired Catholic priest he accused of molesting him as a child has been found not guilty of assault, despite admitting the beating on the witness stand. Jurors said none of them wanted to convict William Lynch, 44, after hearing about the alleged abuse he and his brother suffered at the hands of Jerold Lindner, the San Francisco Chronicle reports. The 67-year-old priest testified that he hadn't abused Lynch, but he later invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination and all of his testimony was removed from the record.
Lynch and his brother were paid $625,000 by the Jesuits to settle a sex abuse lawsuit 14 years ago, and the church has paid millions to other Lindner victims. "The DA's office was in a very difficult position because they had to go forward with the case," said a former prosecutor. "They can't allow vigilante justice to be ignored. But the DA's office is not used to having pedophiles as victims." Lynch said the verdict would help him heal from the memories that have tormented him for decades. "This has brought me a certain closure. I found a voice that I didn't have. I've become empowered," he said. "I feel like I can have some peace and get on with my life." (Read more William Lynch stories.)