Man who bashed sign with stolen crucifix ordered to 1 year in mental treatment program

Brendan McSweeney appears in Brown County court Feb. 28, 2018.
Brendan McSweeney appears in Brown County court Feb. 28, 2018. (WLUK image)

GREEN BAY (WLUK) – The man who stole a crucifix from a church and then broke it smashing a business’ video board sign will spend one year in a mental treatment program.

Brendan McSweeney, 30, pleaded no contest to two charges – theft and criminal damage to property – but was then found not guilty by reason of mental disease or defect.

At a hearing Monday, Brown County Judge John Zakowski approved the treatment plan, which includes treatment, counseling, an order to take medication as prescribed, and not to use alcohol or illegal drugs. He will live at a community-based residential facility for a time before moving in with family.

McSweeney did not appear in court in person; he participated via the phone.

After stealing the crucifix from Nativity of Our Lord Church in Ashwaubenon on Feb. 9, McSweeney then used it to damage a video sign outside the WLUK-TV studios, about a mile from the church.

Later the same day, he allegedly went to Wausau and caused a disturbance at a pizza parlor. However, prosecutors dismissed four misdemeanor charges in that case.