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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Minnesota

Friday, March 1, 2019

Former U.S. Probation Officer Pleads Guilty To Lying To The FBI

Defendant lied about his inappropriate sexual contacts with probationers

United States Attorney Erica H. MacDonald today announced the guilty plea of DENNIS EDWARD BRESNAHAN, 55, a former United States Probation Officer, to two counts of making false statements to the FBI. BRESNAHAN, who was indicted on August 15, 2018, entered his guilty plea earlier today before Judge Robert W. Pratt in U.S. District Court in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

“People who work in the criminal justice system hold positions of trust over others and are to use that authority appropriately,” said Jill Sanborn, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI's Minneapolis Division. “The FBI takes seriously its responsibility to maintain the integrity of the criminal justice system by investigating allegations where that trust was violated. All citizens, including the vulnerable victims in this case, expect and deserve equal protection under the law.”

According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, for more than twenty-five years, and until August 22, 2016, BRESNAHAN was employed as a United States Probation Officer for the District of Minnesota. In his role, BRESNAHAN was responsible for supervising defendants on federal pretrial and supervised release, and had access to records and maintained communications with individuals under his supervision. Between January 2016 and April 1, 2016, BRESNAHAN engaged in sexually inappropriate conduct with an individual (identified as “Witness A”) under his supervision, including repeated phone and email discussions of a sexual nature.

According to the defendant’s guilty plea and documents filed in court, on August 22, 2016, FBI agents interviewed BRESNAHAN regarding both his sexually inappropriate conduct in his role as a United States Probation Officer and his relationship with Witness A. BRESNAHAN admitted to engaging in sexually inappropriate behavior and to receiving one topless photograph from Witness A. When FBI agents asked BRESNAHAN whether he had asked for additional sexual photographs from Witness A, BRESNAHAN lied and said that he had not. FBI agents then asked BRESNAHAN if he had engaged in any similar inappropriate sexual conduct with other probationers, including asking for sexual photographs, to which BRESNAHAN again lied and claimed that he had not. However, upon further investigation, it was revealed that BRESNAHAN had in fact asked for sexual photographs from other probationers, specifically an individual identified as Witness B. Witness B was under BRESNAHAN’S supervision from July 2013 until approximately February 2014. During that time, BRESNAHAN engaged in multiple email exchanges of a sexual nature with Witness B, including asking for sexual photographs.

This case is the result of an investigation conducted by the FBI.

Assistant U.S. Attorneys Julie E. Allyn and Allen A. Slaughter are prosecuting the case.


Defendant Information:


Forest Lake, Minn.


  • Making false statements or representations to an agency of the United States, 2 counts





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United States Attorney’s Office, District of Minnesota: (612) 664-5600

Updated March 1, 2019