WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A former priest at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Pennsylvania was arrested on Wednesday for stealing nearly $100,000 church collections over a seven-year span.
- From 2011 to 2018, Father Joseph McLoone was allegedly stealing money which he spent on vacations and dating men he met on a gay app.
- For now, McLoone remains on leave as investigations are still being carried out by law enforcement and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
On Wednesday, a Catholic priest was arrested in Pennsylvania for allegedly embezzling almost $100,000 worth of church donations, which was spent on traveling and dates.
The Chester County District Attorney’s Office reported that former St. Joseph’s Catholic Church priest in Downingtown, Pa., Joseph McLoone, was charged with felony theft and other related crimes.
According to prosecutors, 56-year-old McLoone stole $98,405.50 from the church between 2011 and 2018, where most of the money was used to finance his vacations, dinners and a New Jersey beach house.
He also purportedly sent large portions of church dollars to men he met on Grindr, a dating gay men app. The former priest, who took an oath of celibacy when he began his priesthood, made at least 27 fund transfers to the men he met through services like Square and J-Pay, according to police complaints obtained by Philadelphia Magazine.
In a statement, the Chester County D.A.’s office wrote: “Father McLoone held a position of leadership and his parishioners trusted him to properly handle their generous donations to the church. However, Father McLoone violated the trust of the members of St. Joseph for his own personal gain.”
In 2018, McLoone was told by the Archdiocese of Philadelphia take a leave from work following their discovery of a secret bank account that he was reportedly using to hide the stolen funds.
“These charges are serious and disturbing,” said Kenneth Gavin, the Chief communications officer for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He also told Philadelphia Magazine this week that while the Archdiocese and the parish will continue to work with law enforcement as investigations enter the next phase, “Monsignor McLoone remains on administrative leave”.
McLoone took over at the church in 2011 after its predecessor, William Lynn, was charged of concealing sexual abuse acts committed by other members of the clergy. Lynn became the first U.S. Catholic Church official convicted of such crime.