A former Minnesota federal probation officer pleaded guilty on Friday to two counts of lying to the FBI in connection to accusations that he used his authority to extort sexual favors from women he supervised.
But the women who say they were victimized by Dennis Edward Bresnahan, 55, expressed disappointment that he wasn’t charged with sexually assaulting them and exposed to a harsher punishment.
“I’m not happy, but I’ll take it. We have to,” said Tammy Bloomer, whom Bresnahan supervised from 2010 to 2016.
Bresnahan admitted on Friday that he lied to federal agents who were investigating the case, and acknowledged engaging in “sexually improper behavior,” according to the plea agreement.
In early 2016 he asked a woman on probation for a topless photo of herself, which she gave him. He later called her and asked her to send more topless photos, but this time the woman was recording the calls.
When FBI agents asked him about the photos in August 2016, he told them he had only asked for and received one sexually explicit photo of the woman. He also denied having any other explicit photos of defendants.
But as the FBI continued to investigate, “agents learned that he had sexually inappropriate relationships” and had received more sexually explicit photos from women he supervised, according to the plea deal and indictment.
One of those women sent several of the photos to his work e-mail account.
As part of the plea agreement, Bresnahan “acknowledged his position of authority” over the women.
A lawsuit filed by Bloomer and two other women accused Bresnahan of a far worse pattern of conduct by exploiting their vulnerabilities as women on probation in exchange for sex.
“He knew where they were vulnerable,” said their attorney, Kenneth Udoibok. “He used their children.”
The women said they couldn’t report Bresnahan for fear that they wouldn’t be believed or that he would revoke their probation and send them to prison.
Udoibok said he expects Bresnahan to receive three years in prison.
Bresnahan’s attorney, Robert Sicoli, denied that his client ever sexually assaulted any of the people he supervised.
“Mr. Bresnahan pleaded guilty today to two counts of making false statements to the FBI and takes full responsibility for his actions,” Sicoli said. “Mr. Bresnahan was not charged with sexually assaulting any federal defendants under his supervision because it never happened. Any allegations to the contrary are false.”
Two charges of destroying records as part of the FBI investigation were dismissed as part of the plea deal.
Bresnahan resigned from his post in 2016 after 25 years of working for the office.