Gay rights activist surrenders on child porn charges

Courtesy PhotoLarry Brinken was linked to a child pornography case in Los Angeles by his IP address.

Larry Brinkin, the veteran gay-rights activist who brought the nation’s first domestic partnership lawsuit in 1982 and now faces child pornography charges, surrendered to police Thursday, authorities said.

Brinkin, 66, was first arrested June 22 on suspicion of possessing and distributing pictures of toddlers engaged in sex acts with men. At the time, however, the District Attorney’s Office said it needed to further investigate the claims before charges could be delivered.

The Police Department’s special victims unit did just that, Sgt. Michael Andraychak said Thursday, leading to a $240,000 arrest warrant. Brinkin turned himself in about 10:30 a.m. Thursday, police said, and he was booked on two felony counts of possession and distribution of child porn. He’s scheduled to be arraigned today.

San Francisco police were reportedly tipped off about the case by the Los Angeles Police Department, which received a disturbing email thread from AOL. The emails were exchanged between a Los Angeles user and zack3737@aol.com, which authorities say they linked to Brinkin’s IP address.

In the emails, police said, Brinkin allegedly added shocking commentary to the graphic photos, including, “I loved especially the [expletive] 2 year old getting nailed.”

Brinkin, who has a longtime partner and a teenage son, retired from the Human Rights Commission with honor in 2010. Upon his retirement, a Board of Supervisors resolution declared the first seven days of February 2010 “Larry Brinkin Week.”

In 1982, he was the first to use the phrase “domestic partner” in a lawsuit he filed against his then-employer Southern Pacific Railway. Brinkin lost the case, which city officials said “laid the foundation for marriage equality.”

As a city employee, Brinkin 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.

maldax@sfexaminer.com

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