​For release on September 12, 2012   CONTACT: Sean Webby Media Coordinator 408-792-2997                             D.A. DECLINES TO CHARGE FORMER PRIEST WITH PERJURY   After a careful analysis, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office has determined that it will not charge Jerold Lindner with the crime of perjury.   The decision comes two months after the trial of William Lynch, a San Francisco man who testified that on May 10, 2010 he assau1ted the former priest at a Jesuit retirement home in Los Gatos. Lynch said he did so because Lindner molested his brother and him in 1975. During the trial, after which Lynch was acquitted of felony assault charges, Lindner testified that he did not molest the boys. District Attorney Jeffrey Rosen met with Mr. Lynch today to discuss the decision.   The District Attorney's Office explains the decision at greater length in a four-page report included along with this news release, and posted on the District Attorney's website www.santaclara-da.org.   "We believe that Lindner lied. However, perjury is not merely lying under oath," District Attorney Rosen said. "It is a highly technical criminal offense that requires several elements to be proved. Citizens entrust us to prepare criminal complaints only for factually sound and legal reasons. We cannot do that in this matter."   In the last three years, the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office has filed 120,000 criminal cases. It has filed perjury charges 13 times.   The elements of the crime of perjury are:

  1. A person took an oath to testify truthfully before a competent tribunal;
  2. When the person testified, he willfully stated that the information was true even though he knew it was false;
  3. The information was material; (Case law holds that testimony is material if the testimony would probably have influenced the outcome of the proceedings.)
  4. The person knew he was making a statement under oath.

The District Attorney's Office concluded that the "materiality" of Lindner's brief and eventually stricken testimony could not be proved beyond a reasonable doubt. To be charged with perjury, a person must knowingly testify falsely about something that was "material" - essential and with the probability that it would influence the case's outcome. "Any lies about the alleged tragic events occurring approximately thirty years ago could not have been legally material in the 2012 jury's consideration of whether Lynch was guilty of assaulting Lindner in 2010," the report concluded.   The alleged molestations themselves were committed too long ago to prosecute. As District Attorney Rosen said after the jury's acquittals: "We have heard Mr. Lynch. His story of abuse is powerful. We hope it lends strength to our ongoing effort to end the statute of limitations on child molestation so we can bring more molesters to justice."     ### Attachments

©2022 County of Santa Clara. All rights reserved.