San Francisco News

Prominent gay rights advocate denies child porn charges

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

New details are surfacing about the disturbing accusations against a prominent San Francisco gay rights advocate. Larry Brinkin entered a not guilty plea in court Wednesday to several child pornography charges. That's his plea, but prosecutors claim there is more than enough evidence against him.

What's contained in the affidavit and search warrant is truly shocking. Even San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon said in his news conference that he could not repeat any of the evidence in the warrant because it's too "lurid."

The 66-year-old remained silent as he was charged with six counts of possessing and distributing child pornography. His attorney entered a plea of not guilty on his behalf. Brinkin was arrested in late June after police searched his San Francisco home and seized videos and a computer. He had been out on $240,000 bail.

District Attorney George Gascon says the charges against Brinkin are serious, "The nature of the messages and the photos that were being distributed were very disturbing."

The search warrant reveals just how disturbing. It says that in January, Los Angeles police began an investigation after receiving cyber tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited children. AOL had reported that a user with the email address zack3737@aol.com had been communicating with another user with a Yahoo address. That user turned out to be in Australia. Email attachments showed children as young as two and three-years-old being sexually assaulted and performing various sex acts on adult men.

In May, LAPD turned the case over to San Francisco police after learning that zack3737 was Larry Brinkin. Bay Area investigators found that Brinkin belonged to several Yahoo discussion groups, which they say exchanged stories about sexually exploiting young boys and girls. Those conversations also contained racial slurs against African Americans.

Gascon says there is no question of Brinkin's involvement, "He was the active participant in receiving the information and passing the information out."

Video shows Brinkin years ago, when ABC7 News profiled him when he was receiving counseling to deal with the stress of his work at the Human Rights Commission. He was best known there for his pioneering work for gays and lesbians. Brinkin helped draft the city's Equal Benefits Ordinance, now a model for equality in the workplace.

Outside the courthouse Wednesday, Brinkin continued his silence. When asked if he has anything to say at all about this case he answered, "No, no comment today."

Gascon says he waited this long to file formal charges against Brinkin because he did not want to compromise a concurrent investigation by Australian police. They finally made an arrest in this case, which is why Brinkin was charged and arraigned Wednesday.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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crime, sex crimes, child abuse, san francisco news, vic lee
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