Man Popped for Porn, Exposing Himself on Flight a Former Priest

September 11, 2012

A 63-year-old Reno, Nevada man named Daniel Michael Drinan was arrested Saturday night at Denver International Airport for "lewd, indecent, or obscene acts in public aboard an aircraft," according to a release issued by the Denver Division of the U.S. Attorney's Office. A follow-up article published Tuesday in the Denver Post identified Drinan as a former Catholic priest who was disciplined in 2002 for alleged improper contact with a minor.

According to the U.S. Attorney's Office, "Drinan was on Southwest Flight 1998 en route from Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) to Denver International Airport (DEN) when he allegedly sexually touched himself in full view of other passengers," Following the issuance of the criminal complaint, which was obtained by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney's Office Monday morning, Drinan was scheduled to appear during the afternoon in U.S. District Court in Denver.

The release contained the following allegations: "According to the affidavit in support of the criminal complaint, Drinan was aboard a Southwest Airlines flight. Southwest offers WiFi Internet service to customers for a fee. Drinan connected his laptop computer to the airline’s WiFi service and began to view pornography. One person in a nearby seat noticed the defendant touching himself to the pornography. She waited, hoping he would stop, but ultimately had to alert a flight attendant. That flight attendant contacted a male flight attendant who asked Drinan to 'put his pants back together.' At the time the male flight attendant talked with Drinan, the defendant’s genitalia was totally exposed. Investigators were told that at some points during the conduct that Drinan was trying to use his laptop to conceal his behavior."

The Denver Post reported Tuesday, "A spokesman for the Claretians order in Chicago confirmed Drinan, 63, is a former priest whose last assignment was at the Ridge House, a substance-abuse treatment center for parolees. Records indicate Drinan left the program in April, but the church spokesman would not elaborate."

The article also states that Drinan previously worked as a priest at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in a suburb of Austin, Texas, and references a 2002 Austin American-Statesman article that claims the priest "was removed in April of that year after alleged inappropriate contact with a minor, though an investigation found no evidence of violence or sexual abuse."

Morality in Media wasted no time in mentioning the Drinan affair, noting in an Action Alert sent out Tuesday by CEO and President Pat Trueman, "Ironically, it's another flight out of BWI in Baltimore. A man was arrested for viewing pornography on the plane's Wi-Fi network and touching himself in full view of other passengers. We are contacting Southwest regarding putting anti-porn filters on the Internet they provide in-flight. We will tell you in a later email what repines we get from Southwest."

Interesting use of the word "repine," which means to complain or kvetch. Sounds as if they don't expect a sympathetic response from the airline. And of course, they failed to mention that the perp is a former priest.

The current case is being investigated by the FBI and the Denver Police Department, and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney James Allison, Chief of the Criminal Division for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.








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