Originally published in The Akron Beacon Journal

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Thursday, February 6, 1992



Beacon Journal staff writer

The Rev. William Brink didn't find just a wife among the residents of his Brinkhaven Homes for Youth. He also found a daughter.

Both say Brink, 55, sexually abused them, and their allegations are being investigated by the Stark County Sheriff's Department.

Richard Tobias, a former member of the Brinkhaven board of trustees, said he gave local police copies of statements detailing allegations of sexual abuse written by 16-year-old Kathryn Brink, a former group home resident whom Brink married in October, and Marylee Brink, 24, a former resident who was taken into Brink's household 10 years ago and lived there as a daughter, though she was never adopted.

Lawrence Township Police Chief Roy E. Mosely II confirmed giving the documents last week to sheriff's officials, who have said an investigation of Brink is going on, but declined to comment further.

Brink's attorney, Darrell Holland, declined to comment "until I see the results of an official investigation." He said Brink was out of state because of the death of his mother.

Tobias, who also is a counselor with the Ohio Department of Youth Services, said he was contacted by Marylee and Kathryn Brink while conducting an internal investigation of Brink's marriage.

The investigation was requested by the Brinkhaven trustees in mid-January -- more than two months after the marriage and a month after Brink took a leave of absence, citing poor health.

In separate interviews, Marylee and Kathryn Brink said they also have told their stories to authorities, including a Stark County sheriff's investigator.

Marylee Brink, the daughter of a poor Amish family of 10 children, said she came to Brinkhaven in October 1981 -- a month before her 14th birthday. After about four months in a group home, she said, Brink invited her to live with him and his wife, Patricia.

"It wasn't too long after that that he began sexually molesting me," she said.

She said she continued to live with Brink as his daughter after he separated from his wife in 1982. Although she was never adopted, Marylee said she took the Brink name when she was 18.

She said that she was sickly as a child because of her impoverished upbringing and that Brink told her sex with him was approved by God as therapy.

"He said if it wasn't for him doing this, I would lose my life," Marylee Brink said. "I believed him. I was a child and I was brainwashed and I believed he was right."

That began to change in 1988, when she was 20 and became pregnant. She said Brink took a six-month leave of absence and traveled with her outside Ohio to hide her condition until she gave birth in Gulfport, Miss., in December. The child was adopted.

"I felt that God was punishing me for this happening," she said. "I felt that God was telling me that this was wrong and that I needed to stop it. I began to try to be independent."

She made plans to go to school in Tennessee in August. That summer, she said, Brink took Kathryn into his home.

Like Marylee, Kathryn had come to Brinkhaven as a private placement.

Kathryn said Brink first had sex with her in a motel in Louisville, Ky., during a trip to move Marylee's possessions to Nashville.

"He told me it would be OK because we're going to get married," saying God approved of their love, Kathryn said.

They were married in Gulfport on Oct. 24, according to court records. By then, Kathryn said, she already was pregnant.

Kathryn broke with Brink about a month later when they were in Nashville.

She said Brink had gone there because Marylee was not answering his phone calls and he suspected she was talking to authorities.

Marylee said she had checked into a psychiatric center for treatment of sexual abuse.

Marylee said Brink had been trying to see her and got into an altercation with the staff. Brink was arrested Nov. 23 and spent a night in jail after being charged with harassing communications.

The misdemeanor charge was heard Jan. 16 in Davidson County Lower Criminal Court in Nashville. The case was "retired," meaning it would be dismissed in a year pending Brink's good behavior, according to court records.

The night Brink was in jail, Kathryn said, Marylee called her and for the first time, the two compared notes.

"What she told me was exactly what he did to me," Kathryn said.

The two left Nashville together that night and have not seen Brink since, they said.

Tobias said Brink told him in December he had sexual relations with Kathryn before they were married.

Tobias expected to present recommendations resulting from the internal investigation today, but was told Wednesday that the board had been disbanded and his services no longer required.

The board's attorney, Leon Stauffenger, said the decision to dissolve the 40-member board was made Tuesday by four members of the non-profit corporation that owns and operates Brinkhaven: Brink's son, Dale; Mike Palmer, a Brinkhaven staff member; the Rev. Robert England, a dean of God's Bible School in Cincinnati; and Baron Hixon, a Canton dentist.

A new board, composed of only nine members, including England and Hixon, is scheduled to meet at 2 p.m. today, Stauffenger said.

Stauffenger said he was not sure whether Brink was still a member of the non-profit corporation.

He said the meeting would be closed, but Hernan Ramirez, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Youth Services, which licenses Brinkhaven's homes, said, "We are going to request minutes of the board meeting."

Ramirez said Dan Pollack, the department's chief of licensing, and Steve Curl, chief investigator, visited Brinkhaven on Tuesday and talked with staff and some children.

About 50 children live in Brinkhaven's four group homes for delinquent and troubled youths near Canal Fulton. Most are sent there by area county juvenile courts.

Tobias said he intended to recommend that the Brinkhaven board sever all relations with Brink, who founded the group homes in 1979, and suggested someone other than Dale Brink succeed his father as president.

Dale Brink has been acting president of Brinkhaven since his father stepped down in December.

Tobias said he also wanted Brink to return all Brinkhaven property -- including a car, a mobile telephone and credit cards -- and move away from the homes.

© Copyright 1998 The Akron Beacon Journal

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