NJ Priest Sentenced For Alleged Misuse Of Parish Funds

NEWARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A New Jersey priest faced a judge in court on Tuesday to learn his punishment after he spent donations from parishioners on fancy vacations, a car and even a boat, prosecutors said.

Monsignor Patrick Brown didn’t want to talk as he walked out of federal court, just after finding out that he will have to spend five months in prison, reports CBS 2’s Christine Sloan.

Prosecutors said Msgr. Brown took thousands of dollars from parishioners and spent it on a lavish lifestyle.

Authorities said Msgr. Brown collected money for the needy at Saint Vincent de Paul Church, placed the donations in hidden bank accounts, and then spent the cash of vacations to Hawaii and Ireland, shopping sprees at the mall, and tuition for nieces and nephews.

“We believe in Monsignor Brown,” one woman said. “It’s a travesty.”

Supporters who packed the courtroom said the monsignor gave the money to the needy, like Carl Schlegeo.

“He personally helped me several times, with my property taxes – I couldn’t pay those, he raised the money for those,” Schlegeo said. “I personally think that the sentencing was unfair. I think he should have gotten just probation.”

Suspended priest Father Robert Hoatson, who works with victims of abuse, said the sentence sends a message.

“I think the judge hit the nail on the head – what he basically said was this man abused his position as a priest and he bought his popularity, and he bought his fame,” he said.

In court, defense attorneys said Brown had only pleaded guilty to tax evasion. The monsignor told the judge that he couldn’t forgive himself.

Monsignor Brown, who spent years preaching to prisoners, has 10 days to surrender to authorities and begin his own five-month sentence as an inmate.

Hundreds of supporters, including nuns, sent letters to the judge saying Brown was a good man who used donations to help them. The Paterson Diocese said the monsignor will need everyone’s prayers.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

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Comments

One Comment

  1. J. Francis says:

    Why are Catholic Priests so hated? School teachers molest far more kids each year. and school administrations swindle far more money. And think of the differences, churches do not have the ability to take your money, while public schools collect their money at gun point. Money from every single pay check goes into the public school system. As well as property taxes and the lottery and so on. Public schools are far more powerful and menacing then any church, Let’s hate the worst offenders first, PUBLIC SCHOOL TEACHERS!!!!!! They live on stolen money and molest our kids, and operate the countries biggest monopoly!!!!

    1. Jeff Blocker says:

      This the sort of thing that makes me wonder how many “sane” people have read this news report. What’s with all the hatred???? One person, “fester,” has an obvious pathological hatred for the Roman Catholic Church, if not for all of Christianity, and this poor soul is eaten up with hatred for public school teachers.

      JUST STUNNING!!!!!

  2. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx says:

    I would rather he did this then touching little boys.I bet he still gets a pension like our politicians

  3. $$ says:

    Yes he was very charitable with whose money?? Many more of them out there doing the same thing. I wish I had the car the priest in my parish has.

  4. jtorres says:

    The only news that is published when it comes to the Catholic Church is when some wrong is committed. 99% of people in the service have devoted their lives to helping others. We only hear about that 1% that hasn’t. I have been a practicing Catholic all my life and was very involved in the church to the point of hanging out at the rectory with all my friends. It was safer than any other place I could have been. Most of the priests I knew were loving charitable wonderful human beings who would never hurt anyone and never tried to molest me or any of my friends despite repeated opportunities. The chuch is not perfect nor are its people but then, name one organization that is.

  5. Jim McGuffey, CPP says:

    The real point is that unless controls are in place for all parties concerned, this sort of activity will continue. What gets inspected gets respected. Churches and charitable organizations do great things for our world, but they also need to have policies and procedures to detect and report illegal activity. I plan to post an article soon to shed light from a prevention point of view on http://www.churchsecurityconsultant.com This is a 100% pro bono site to help Houses of Worship improve safety and security.

  6. Jim McGuffey, CPP says:

    The real point is that unless controls are in place for all parties concerned, this sort of activity will continue. What gets inspected gets respected. Churches and charitable organizations do great things for our world, but they also need to have policies and procedures to detect and report illegal activity. I plan to post an article to shed light from a prevention point of view on http://www.churchsecurityconsultant.com This is a 100% pro bono site to help Houses of Worship improve safety and security.

  7. adel says:

    Human nature is very co,plicated..we need to pray for each other

  8. Nassif Maroun says:

    To Mike Hunt .It looks to me that you are a gangester .Priests makes MISTAKES.They are human.You D’ont Know how much responsibility these peoples Have .They leave their families and help the peoples .I’ll bet you this MGR Help thousands of Peoples while you only TALKS or Get drunk in the local BARS .Remember CATHOLIC CHURCH is a CROWN and a solid ROCK no one can put DOWN >Hope one day you see the LIGHT.and find another subject to talk about.

    1. fester60613 says:

      Oh please…. the catholic church is a cesspit of corruption and greed. How do poor priests end up as millionaire bishops and cardinals? Through “donations”? Wake up Nassif – the church is a filthy and disgraceful organization.

  9. bob torres says:

    This is no surprise anymore!!! Catholic priest must be careful now a days. Thay are not exempted from the courts of justice or any religious leader o any religion be it a Jew or a Muslim.

    1. fester60613 says:

      They seem to be wholly exempt if they’re sexually abusing children, or covering it up. Why aren’t there some bishops and cardinals in prison? Cardinal Law should have gone to jail but now has a very cushy job in Rome. Where’s the “careful” about that?

  10. carolyn de stefano says:

    Fr. Brown is a good man and a wonderful priest. Too bad the public is not aware of all the good he has done. He was loved, respected, and admired by many people. Perhaps the “green eyed monster” is responsible for this shameful turn of events.

    1. fester60613 says:

      A crime is a crime is a crime. Why would anyone envy a priest? Ick!

      1. Jeff Blocker says:

        I know that the church has MANY problems, but this person “fester” seems to have a real hatred for the church. He is RIGHT about the fact that Cardinal Law should have been locked up, but that doesn’t gainsay all the good acts that are performed by many Roman Catholics, both those who consider themselves to be “devout” and those who don’t, like me. The hatred that is exhibited by this person borders on the pathological if not the actual.

  11. Devout Catholic says:

    As a headmistress of a school, I found dealing with this priest more than one could bear. He was cunning, manipulative, and out for promotion within the diocese. Hehas garnered what he deserves. I am certain there is far more guilt than the federal authorities were able to prove.

  12. Jeff Blocker says:

    I knew Father Brown at one point in my life and found him to always be charitable, understanding and accessible at all times. In fact, I was just considering recently that I should contact him to repay him some money that he spent in my behalf a number of years ago. In fact, I think I am obliged to now. This “sentence” is a waste to the larger society, and, if it was found necessary to punish him for alleged crimes then he could have been remanded to work in some facility, or such, which serves the poor and forgotten.

    I will pray for him and remember him everytime I go to mass.

  13. wayne says:

    Call a spade a spade, what do you mean alledged, its not alledged if he was found guilty, and sentenced who is this stupid reporter., journalist, I dont think so. He was sentenced because he is guilty of frraud, corruption, and being a thief, not alledged, guilty, and he got off easy I think, only 5 months. should be 5 years,

  14. jimmy says:

    Criminals can’t hide behind the collar. What a waste of parish money! This is everything that is wrong with the Catholic church.See you in 5 months!

    1. fester60613 says:

      Criminals – child rapists – are hiding behind their collars. LOTS of priest / criminals, protected and even rewarded by other priest / criminals.

  15. DontTrustThemPreists says:

    Wow…if they are not molesting boys, they are misusing money….I am surprised he is getting jail time. usually it s a slap on the wrist and he gets to spend the night with two boys as “Harsh Punishment”

    1. fester60613 says:

      Amen! Hang ’em high! And then – in the Italian tradition – burn the bodies.

    2. Richard T. says:

      AGREED, THIS ‘MAN’ SHOULD BE TOTALLY ASHAMED. HE IS SUPPOSED TO SET THE EXAMPLE FOR HIS PARISHONERS TO FOLLOW, NOT PICK THEIR POCKETS DRY. INSTEAD OF 5 MONTHS, IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN 5 YEARS! GOOD RIDDANCE YOU CRIMINAL!

  16. kendra says:

    what is that about and he answers to a higher power ….and he sure knows his ten commandments really well doesn,t he?now alll he needs to do is pratice what he preaches to his parishers as will..

  17. Bernie Sanders says:

    whatever happened to the vow of poverty ?

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