I was Sodomized by a Priest at 7

I was Sodomized by a Priest at 7

My name is William Lynch. My story begins nearly 4 decades ago in May of 1975. While at a church-sanctioned camping trip in northern California, I was raped, sodomized and strangled by Rev. Jerold Lindner, a Catholic priest. I was seven years old. I remember blacking out during the rape and regaining consciousness with semen in my mouth and the priest on top of me, his hands around my throat. As he strangled me, he spoke these unconscionable words: “You are no longer a child of God.” In that moment, I felt I ceased to exist. Later in the weekend, Lindner would rape and torture me and my 4-year old brother forcing unthinkable acts among and between us. Watch an exclusive interview of my...

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California Starts Ending the Cycle

California Starts Ending the Cycle

Some victims of child sexual assault (CSA) remain trapped in silence for years. Some take their traumatic sexual secret to the grave. In fact, 90% of victimized children never report the abuse to anyone — EVER. In addition, by the time survivors are ready to come forward to seek justice, they are told the statute of limitations (SOLs) have long since expired. There is no way to prosecute and incarcerate their perpetrator, which is the only way to prevent countless other children from being molested. Not to worry, a reckoning is on the rise. Over the past few years, in the wake for the #TimesUp and #MeToo movements, a significant number of adult victims of child sexual assault (CSA) have come forward to tell their stories. As a result of this reckoning, California introduced Assembly Bill 218 in January. It proposes to expand the SOLs relevant to victims of CSA, from age 26 to age 40, plus extend the period of time for delayed discovery from three years to five years. After enactment, the measure would allow for a three-year window in which childhood victims, having now reached the age of adulthood, can file a lawsuit against their molester. Waiting for this bill to become a law would be a mistake. Furthermore, just because the bill has been introduced, and has significant support, does not mean it will pass – and does not guarantee it cannot or will not be challenged in court. Furthermore, California is currently considering multiple bills that could change the statute of limitations with regard to CSA. Nevertheless, it could take months or even years before they are voted on by the state legislature. More importantly, these laws are extremely complicated. It can take a long time to build a case, and time is not always on your side. If you’re intent on filing a lawsuit, contact an experienced attorney that knows what exceptions to the rules may apply, and what kind of deadlines...

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We Will Be Silent No Longer

We Will Be Silent No Longer

The following column, written by journalist and fellow Survivor Amanda Beam, was featured on July 17, 2012 in the online edition of the News & Tribune from Jeffersonville, Indiana and is reprinted with the author’s permission. Amanda’s column can be found every Tuesday at www.newsandtribune.com. I’ve always said everyone has a story. Most often, you just have to ask the right questions to discover it. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is to tell the tale on your own accord without those inquiries being solicited. In the news recently, two stories have come to light that certain cowards wanted to keep hidden in the shadows. People decided to ask questions too late. One is the Penn State scandal involving former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky. The other is about a California man named William Lynch. On May 10, 2010, Lynch walked into a Los Gatos retirement home and allegedly beat 65-year-old retired Catholic priest Jerold Lindner. But Lindner wasn’t any ordinary priest. Through the years, more than a dozen people, including members of his own family, have accused Lindner of child molestation. Thirty-seven years ago, Lynch maintains he and his brother were victimized. According to the now 44-year-old Lynch, the priest violently sodomized he and his brother at a church summer camp. He also claims Lindner forced the boys to perform explicit sexual acts on one another. They were 7 and 4 years old. By the time Lynch confessed the purported atrocities to law enforcement more than two decades later, the statute of limitations had expired. Lindner remained free and never would serve any jail time. Lynch’s story is unfortunately not unique. A 2009 Clinical Psychology Review study estimated 19.7 percent of females and 7.9 percent males worldwide have suffered from child sexual abuse. Many researchers believe the prevalence is actually much higher. Due to the social stigma, fear and shame of the abuse, a high proportion of children and adults never report the crimes. Whether if anyone ever questioned these relationships, or if the children’s pleas and assertions were ignored, we’ll never know. Many of the stories remain untold. But somehow, even in silence, the poison bubbles to the surface and permeates the lives of the survivors. You feel hate. You feel despair. And, at times, you want to destroy the person who made you feel so worthless and ashamed. Lynch felt that anger and acted on it. I never got the chance. More than a decade ago, the man who molested me for four years as a child died. It began when I was a preschooler and continued until I believe third grade. I say believe because I really don’t know. I can remember at least 30 different times. It...

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