Monsignor Patrick Brown Sentenced

Posted on 26 April 2011

Before a visibly stunned courtroom including many former parishioners, U.S. District Court Judge Susan D. Wigenton sentenced Monsignor Patrick Brown to five months in jail, five months of home detention, and a $30,000 fine – bringing to a close the sorry story of another trusted, well-respected religious leader who used his office for personal gain.  Pleading guilty to a charge of tax evasion for falsifying his 2005 Federal income tax return and diverting more than $63 thousand in funds from St. Vincent de Paul Parish between 2004 and 2009, Brown and his many supporters and admirers had been awaiting sentencing since last November.

At the time of his guilty plea, it was reported that much of the money diverted had been used by Brown to purchase gifts, make repairs to a Budd Lake, NJ residence he owns, and take vacations to Colorado, Hawaii, and Ireland.

At yesterday’s sentencing hearing, Prosecutor Lee Vartan provided more detail regarding the beleaguered Monsignor’s improprieties, stating that Brown’s scheme involved the diversion of more than one-half million dollars from the Parish!  Additionally, a news release by U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman provided more detail concerning the misappropriation of funds.

Apparently, within three days of assuming the leadership of St. Vincent de Paul Parish in 1992, Brown opened an account with Chemical Bank in which parish money was deposited.  He used proceeds of that account for many of his personal expenditures until its closing in 2007 – at which time Brown became aware of the federal investigation into the Parish’s finances.  Thereafter, however, he opened another account, this time with Sovereign Bank, that was partially funded via church donations.

Despite the fact that the court had been inundated by more than 200 letters detailing acts of generosity and kindness performed by Monsignor Brown, Judge Wigenton expressed the need to impose a sentence reflecting the “seriousness” of the Monsignor’s crimes.  Before imposing sentence, Wigenton reflected that “for a person who has taken an oath before God…to then mislead parishioners…that’s just very disturbing.”  She further added “there’s a level of deception here that seems almost pathological.”

In light of the new revelations regarding the Monsignor’s criminal activities, Judge Wigenton’s sentence appears almost too lenient.  Yet, the very fact that Brown’s misdeeds have come to the light of day and caused his rapid fall from grace likely provide a more profound level of punishment than any incarceration could, as well as a warning for others who would use positions of prestige and authority to defraud those whom they should be serving.

Related Article:

Another Roman Catholic Priest Admits Guilt

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12 Responses to “Monsignor Patrick Brown Sentenced”

  1. Susan B. says:

    Jesus said, “Render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and render unto God what is God’s.”

    Monsignor Brown appropriately rendered what he owed to both higher authorities.

  2. Lexi A. says:

    It’s deplorable that someone who took a vow to serve as a link between God and the faithful should act in such a manner. He got what he deserved.

  3. ramulous says:

    This guy needs to be defrocked by the church but probably wont.
    The “Monsignor” is a modern day Rasputin. He’ll soon be on Oprah explaining it all away as a psychological condition brought on by global warming or some such thing.
    Five months on jail work release is a joke.
    If the Catholic Church allows this crook to continue to prance about with his Roman Collar armament intact, the world remains at risk. That collar is Brown’s license to pillage.
    The only thing worse than this guy is his legions of useful idiot enablers that continue to rationalize/rehabilitate. Shame on you!

  4. Jack S. Fogboind says:

    After reading this article, I agree with the author,but the Monsignor did plead guilty and accept the punishment.I wonder what Judge Wigenton’s judgement reflected that “for a person who has taken an oath before God…to then mislead parishioners…that’s just very disturbing.” She further added “there’s a level of deception here that seems almost pathological.” also applied tp other govenerment officials, i.e. Tim Geithner, Charles Wrangle, and a whole host of politicians that use their power to do everything the Monsignor pled guilty to at Taxpayers expense. A quote from Alexander Pope sums it up “To err is human, to forgive Divne. It looks like Politicians are forgiven while the rest of us take the punishment.

  5. Gail says:

    I find this story so very sad. God help this man. Where is his faith? His relationship with God? You cannot love God and not feel convicted by the Holy Spirit when you are in sin. Yes God will forgive him, but is he truly repentant? So so sad! The man is lost.

  6. Matt says:

    I wrote this to Lautenberg…

    I oppose the case of the U.S. government V.S. Msgr. Brown. You might want to investigate how Msgr. Patrick Brown was tried. He was sentenced to 5 months in Federal prison. Vartan, who was the prosecutor lied under oath. There was no evidence to support an indictment, yet Msgr. Brown was prosecuted in what appears to be a “kangaroo court” Judge Wingeton is an emabarrasment to the Judicial system. Please check into this indictment. You will find that the punishment for this man who has done so much good in this world is unfair and unjust. Judge Wingeton’s words during the sentencing were “while you are human, the perception is that you are supposed to be better, and above the normal human temptation.” Wow. From a citizen to Judge Wingeton…We are all human, and we all make mistakes, but you don’t go sending good people to prison for it. There are way too many accounts that I could possibly list of people who did far worse and got a slap on the wrist. Please look into this. IT IS A HUGE INJUSTICE. The scary fact is…Federal Judges are appointed for life terms…they too are “supposed to be better, and above human temptation”

  7. Pio says:

    Good for you Matt. Msgr. has fallen on the sword for all of us. Paul said in his letter to St. Timothy,Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners – of whom I am the worst. And, I am at a loss as to why the Judge by her own admission on the bench was raised by a minister father, did not find fit to disqualify herself from the case on that merit alone. I find it difficult to believe after the prosecution and the defense teams were in agreement and recommended probation, that the Judge did not have a pre – disposition on the sentence she rendered.

  8. Parishioner says:

    He didn’t make a mistake. While he didn’t kill anyone, he did willingly and knowingly keep money away from the people who are in authority. He lied repeatedly, betrayed the trust of a parish, and has yet to act in a Christian manner: he has not apologized or admitted (to the parish) that he wronged us. However, he did do a lot of good for many people and for the parish. This just proves that God’s grace is huge for all of us – He can use us imperfect people who sin every day to do wonderful things. The regrettable part is that Msgr did not chose to be a shepherd to us with this matter: he chose not to be an example of humility. He did not ask for forgiveness and did not give us a chance to give it (to his face.) THAT would have been an incredible lesson for all of us – we cannot withhold forgiveness because God does not withhold it from us. Let’s all just try to learn from this in any way that God wants us to. That’s life as a Christian.

  9. Von Miller says:

    Can you tell us more about this? I’d like to find out more details.

  10. Rob Gronkowski says:

    I love it when folks get together and share ideas.

    Great blog, keep it up!

  11. Ray Rice says:

    I don’t drop many responses, but I read some of the remarks here and wanted to state that the Monsignor Patrick Brown case is yet another example of someone in authority taking advantage of the public trust. It is yet another blackeye for the Roman Catholic Church.

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