A Santa Clara jury said Thursday that William Lynch, who acknowledged he beat a priest he said sexually assaulted him years ago, is not guilty of felony assault.
Lynch was acquitted on felony assault and elder abuse charges made against him by Rev. Jerold Lindner. If found guilty, Lynch could have faced up to four years in prison.
A deadlocked jury resulted in a mistrial on a lesser misdemeanor assault charge.
Lynch never denied beating Linder, a Catholic priest, in 2010 at a retirement home in Los Gatos.
Lindner allegedly raped Lynch and his brother in the 1970s when both were children. Lynch has said this abuse motivated him to attack.
Lindner’s religious order paid the brothers $187,000 to settle the lawsuit years ago without admitting to guilt.
Lindner told the court he was taken aback when Lynch came into the home, asked him to remove his glasses and began punching him in the face and body.
Deputy District Attorney Vicki Gemetti said Lynch should be held accountable for his actions no matter the circumstance, maintaining that “two wrongs don’t make a right.”