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Closing Arguments Wrapping Up In South Bay Priest-Beating Trial

SAN JOSE (KCBS/BCN)— Closing arguments were made Monday in the San Jose trial of a San Francisco man charged with beating a priest he claims molested him and his younger brother 37 years ago.

Prosecutor Vicki Gemetti started her argument with a quote from Alexander Hamilton, stating that the first duty of society is justice. She told the nine-man, three-woman jury that justice demands that they find William Lynch, 44, guilty of two felony counts of assault on retired Jesuit priest Jerold Lindner.

Gemetti told the panel that, while it's natural to feel sympathy for a victim of molestation and that Lynch is obviously still in pain, that they can't use their sympathy in reaching their verdict.

The prosecutor said the facts are undisputed and that Lynch punched Father Lindner on May 10, 2010, something the defendant admitted to during his testimony. But Lynch said he initially planned only to compel the priest to sign a written confession of molestation and that memories of the alleged abuse came flooding back to him after he looked in the priest's eyes.

KCBS' Mike Colgan Reports:

Lynch testified that he felt threatened and began striking the priest during the confrontation and that the priest grabbed him by the throat in the same manner he was grabbed during the alleged sexual assault.

Prosecutors countered that Lynch wore gloves and planned to assault the priest.

Defense Attorney Pat Harris attempted to turn the tables on the prosecution's argument that no man is above the law. He told the jury that one man is in fact above the law, and that he's sitting in a nice home in Los Gatos. Of course he was referring to Lindner, who the prosecution had conceded molested Lynch and his younger brother.

(Copyright 2012 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Wire services may have contributed to this report.)

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