A lawsuit filed in federal court this week says a Minnesota probation officer sexually abused at least two of the women defendants who were assigned to him.
The women are now seeking $2 million in damages from the federal government.
According to the lawsuit filed Wednesday in the U.S. District Court of Minnesota, the alleged abuse, which began in 2014 and ended last year, happened during the pretrial release for both women, during which time they were assigned to Dennis Bresnahan.
Bresnahan, the civil suit says, solicited "sexual favors" from one victim, coerced her into sending photos of her breasts (to his government email), and also asked for pictures of her having sex with one of her female friends.
When that failed, he asked for photographs of her mother, the suit alleges.
Bresnahan is also accused of falsely claiming the victim had failed a drug test, though a later "hair sample test" produced a negative result.
The woman's pretrial release was such a "horrifying experience," the lawsuit alleges, "she agreed to terminate" it and "voluntarily consented to detention."
Meanwhile, the second plaintiff says Bresnahan made unwanted sexual advances toward her during her pretrial release, including caressing her leg "in a sexual manner," and inviting her to take part in a "threesome" with him.
The lawsuit says both women suffer Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of the abuse.
The federal government is blamed for allowing it to happen, as Bresnahan was a longtime employee allowed "in private settings that would give him room to abuse his victims," making the abuse "foreseeable."
'Like a psychologist who abuses a patient'
The lawyer for the two women, Kenneth U. Udoibok of Minneapolis, told GoMN he believes Bresnahan "is a predator that used the power of being a U.S. probation officer to abuse vulnerable women."
"After a judge," Udoibok explained, "the next (most) powerful person in the life of a criminal defendant is a probation officer."
He compared Bresnahan to a "psychologist who abuses a patient."
Udoibok believes there are more victims out there, "based on what happened to my clients," and that he wants to talk to "any person who has been a victim, man or woman, of this guy."
Udoibok says he is also looking to add a third woman to the lawsuit, and talking to a fourth about possible abuse by Bresnahan.
U.S. probation officials told the Star Tribune that Bresnahan resigned from the job in Sept. 2016 while on "suspension status."
The paper says it reached Bresnahan by phone, but he declined to comment.