The Nevada man who was arrested over the weekend at Denver International Airport for allegedly viewing Internet pornography and masturbating mid-flight is reportedly also a former Roman Catholic priest.
The Denver Post, citing a 2002 article from the Austin-American Statesman, reports that 63-year-old Daniel Michael Drinan was the first priest suspended in an incident involving a minor after the Roman Catholic priest sex-abuse scandal surfaced in 2002.
According to the BishopAccountability.org website that also cites an article from the Austin-American Statesman Drinan was a former pastor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Church in an Austin suburb. Drinan was reportedly removed from his post in 2002 after an allegation of sexual contact with a minor was brought forward, however an investigation did not turn up any evidence of abuse.
According to a U.S. Attorney's Office media release, Drinan of Reno, Nevada was on Southwest Airlines Flight 1998 en route to DIA from Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI). While in flight, Drinan used the airline's WiFi internet service to view pornography and allegedly touched himself in full view of other passengers.
A woman sitting nearby noticed Drinan touching himself and waited to alert someone, hopeful that he would stop but ultimately had to alert a flight attendant.
The male flight attendant told Drinan to “put his pants back together,” and later told prosecutors that Drinan's genitalia had been totally exposed.
"Investigators were told that at some points during the conduct that Drinan was trying to use his laptop to conceal his behavior," according to the release.
Chris Mainz, spokesman for Southwest Airlines told the Denver Post that Southwest does have some filter restrictions in place for what is viewable through the airline's WiFi but that filters by themselves aren't always a guarantee.
"That sort of technology, however, isn't always foolproof. It's hard to know if it was through the WiFi or perhaps he had something downloaded on his computer."