Reno Man Accused of Masturbating on Dia Flight Is Ex-Catholic Priest

By Joey Bunch and Kristen Leigh Painter
Denver Post
September 11, 2012

A Reno, Nev., man arrested at Denver International Airport on Saturday for allegedly masturbating while viewing Internet pornography during a flight from Baltimore is a former Roman Catholic priest.

According to a news account 10 years ago, Daniel Michael Drinan was the first priest suspended in an incident involving a minor after the Roman Catholic priest sex- abuse scandal.

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.

Records indicate Drinan had previously worked as a priest at Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Martindale, Texas, a suburb of Austin. A 2002 article in the Austin American-Statesman said Drinan 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.

According to federal prosecutors in Denver, Drinan was a passenger on Southwest Airlines Flight 1998 on Saturday when he signed on to the plane's Wi-Fi network, began looking at sexually graphic material and began masturbating.

A woman alerted a male flight attendant, who asked him to "put his pants back together" and later told investigators "the defendant's genitalia was totally exposed," according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.


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