on child porn charges
by Seth Hemmelgarn
Former San Francisco Human Rights Commission staffer Larry Brinkin was arrested last week on felony child pornography charges.
As of Wednesday morning, June 27, the district attorney's office had not decided whether to file formal charges, but the allegations have cast a pall on Brinkin's legacy. The out gay man, regarded as an LGBT rights pioneer, was with the HRC for more than two decades as a compliance officer before he retired in 2010.
Brinkin, 66, was arrested Friday night, June 22 for possession and distribution of child pornography, according to Officer Albie Esparza, a San Francisco Police Department spokesman. Specifically, a police document shows the charges were related to possession of obscene matter depicting a minor, sexual exploitation of a child, and advertising obscene matter depicting a minor.
San Francisco Superior Court records show that police seized two locked red plastic toolboxes containing videos, two laptops and a desktop computer, three thumb drives, and other items from Brinkin's Waller Street home.
According to the affidavit accompanying the search warrant, in May, San Francisco police viewed information that had been sent to them by a Los Angeles Police Department detective. That detective had received tips from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children that an America Online representative had reported that a user going by Zack3737 with the email address email@example.com had been communicating with another email user. There were two emails with pictures attached that AOL representatives "believed to be child pornography," the documents say.
The San Francisco police officer reviewed information that showed the screen name Zack3737 was registered to a Larry Brinkin, with Brinkin's home address and his phone numbers. He paid for the account via a credit card bearing his name, the records say.
The officer confirmed that the images were of child pornography, the affidavit said. Images attached to an October 2011 email between the two users included one that showed "an approximately 2-3 year old child ... Underneath the child is an adult male, using his right hand to hold the child and his left hand to insert his erect penis into the anus of the child."
In the email, Zack3737 wrote, "damn, what a sight seeing huge dick in tiny hole, tearing it open. That [n-word] must be in coon heaven stuffin it in the tiny white hole!"
The officer also examined emails that were sent from Brinkin's HRC email address to Zack3737. One of those messages, which had the subject "jackman," was sent in April 2007 and included a web address that the officer was unable to follow.
Zack3737 belonged to several Yahoo groups, the officer determined.
A January 2011 email exchange between Zack3737 and another user implied that they were sharing pictures, according to court records.
In one message apparently related to a photo of a small girl performing oral sex on a man, Zack3737 wrote, "It would be hot if while she's sucking it the dude's buddy shoved his beautiful ped meat up her cunt. If Dad hasn't broken her cherry it (sic), it's time, and what better way than at a pedo party ... Seeing his daughter getting raped in every hole will surely make Dad shoot a huge load of cum up the tiny twat he's raping."
Reached through Facebook, Brinkin declined to comment, referring questions to his attorney, Randy Knox.
Asked in a Tuesday, June 26 interview about the charges Brinkin was arrested on, Knox said, "It'd be inappropriate for me to comment on a pending investigation."
However, he said Brinkin is "being fully cooperative with the police."
Knox also said, "Take a look at what Larry has done over the course of his life and his career, and that should tell you what you need to know about Larry Brinkin."
Among other highlights of his HRC career, Brinkin was a manager for the city's Equal Benefits Ordinance, the first of its kind in the country. The ordinance requires city contractors to provide the same benefits to their employees with spouses and their employees with domestic partners.
Brinkin also managed the commission's multi-year investigation of Badlands, a popular Castro neighborhood bar that in 2004 faced allegations of racial discrimination. Owner Les Natali has steadfastly denied the discrimination charges and the case was eventually settled through mediation.
Stephanie Ong Stillman, a spokeswoman for the district attorney's office, said Tuesday that prosecutors are "taking this case very seriously."
"We're waiting for computer forensic evidence to be analyzed in order to make a proper charging decision," she said. "These types of cases are complex in nature, and we require more time to thoroughly evaluate the evidence."
Brinkin was in San Francisco County jail overnight Friday but was released Saturday morning, June 23, on bail, according to Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Susan Fahey.
Brinkin's arrest was first reported by SF Weekly .