FAMILY UPSET AT DECISION TO CLEAR ACCUSED PRIEST (Even though charges of abuse against Rev. Brian Brinker were found unsubstantiated, they want the diocese to bar him from working with children)

In a 1996 complaint, a Farmingdale family accused the Rev. Brian Brinker, 47, of inappropriately touching their 14 year old son on an airplane trip to San Francisco.  Now Bishop William Murphy has told the family that the priest should be allowed to return to active work.  He said he saw no reason why this man should not continue with his duties as a parish priest, said Linda Moraitis, the teenager's mother.  I was completely outraged.  I said, 'Why is he a priest at all?'  Matthew Moraitis said Brinker, while they were staying in a Las Vegas hotel on one leg of the trip, also invited him into his bed to watch pornographic movies and made other questionable comments.  In each case, Matthew said he rebuffed the priest.

Now the family is outraged after they learned yesterday that the Vatican has cleared the priest's return to ministry.  Diocese sources have confirmed that Brinker is one of two priests whose alleged misconduct was found to be unsubstatiated.  Diocese officials would not say whether he will be returned to active ministry.

(Farmingdale, New York)