Gay-rights activist Larry Brinkin was formally charged Wednesday with six felony counts related to the possession and distribution of child pornography.
The 22-year veteran of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, who retired with honor in 2010, was first arrested June 22, but the District Attorney’s Office requested time to further investigate before charging Brinkin.
The follow-up probe culminated last week with a $240,000 arrest warrant. The 66-year-old Brinkin turned himself in to police the morning of Sept. 20.
On Wednesday, he pleaded not guilty to two counts of distributing child pornography and four counts of possession. He posted bail of $240,000.
“A guilty plea or conviction on any count would require the defendant to register as a sex offender for life,” District Attorney George Gascón said.
The probe into Brinkin began in May when the Los Angeles Police Department contacted San Francisco police about a disturbing email thread it had received from AOL. The emails were exchanged between a Los Angeles-based user and firstname.lastname@example.org, which authorities say they linked to Brinkin’s IP address.
Brinkin, who has a longtime partner and a teenage son, allegedly sent photos of toddlers engaging in sex acts with men. The emails allegedly included shocking commentary, such as, “I loved especially the [expletive] 2 year old getting nailed.”
San Francisco police said that on Aug. 8 they seized Brinkin’s computers and found “dozens” of child porn images.
His subsequent arrest came as a shock to his many admirers. Brinkin is known for having brought the nation’s first domestic partnership lawsuit in 1982. As a city employee, he helped implement and enforce the landmark San Francisco Equal Benefits Ordinance of 1997, the first in the U.S. to mandate that employers provide equal coverage for domestic partners.
Upon his retirement, a Board of Supervisors resolution declared the first seven days of February 2010 “Larry Brinkin Week.”