SAN JOSE, Calif. – William Lynch’s life spiraled out of control in the 35 years since he alleges he and his younger brother were molested by a Jesuit priest: He struggled with depression, had nightmares and tried to kill himself twice.

Authorities believe that anger and pain erupted when Lynch lured the Rev. Jerold Lindner to the lobby of his Jesuit retirement home by pretending he had news of a death in the 65-year-old priest’s family and beat him severely in front of shocked witnesses.

Lynch, 43, was arrested Friday and booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon in the May 10 attack. He was allowed to post $25,000 bail and will plead not guilty at an arraignment sometime next month, said his attorney, Pat Harris.

Lynch punched Lindner repeatedly in the face and body after Lindner said he didn’t recognize Lynch during a confrontation at the Jesuits’ Sacred Heart retirement home in Los Gatos, said Sgt. Rick Sung, Santa Clara County sheriff’s spokesman.

Lynch and his brother settled with the Jesuits of the California Province, a Roman Catholic religious order, for $625,000 in 1998 after alleging that Lindner abused them in 1975 during weekend camping trips in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Harris alleged that the boys, who were 7 and 5 at the time, were raped in the woods. Lindner has been accused of abuse by nearly a dozen people, including his own sister and nieces and nephews.

Investigators connected Lynch to the attack using phone records, Sung said. A half-hour before the beating, a caller identifying himself as “Eric” called the rest home and said someone would arrive shortly to inform Lindner of a relative’s death.