WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- A general secretary for the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has stepped down from his post after a media outlet revealed that he used Grindr.
- The media outlet “The Pillar” obtained the church official’s phone data from a data vendor.
- The phone data also revealed that the church official engaged in illicit sexual activity.
The top administrator of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops stepped down after a Catholic media outlet revealed he was using the gay dating app Grindr.
The media outlet The Pillar obtained Monsignor Jeffrey Burill’s cellphone data and found that he was a frequent user of Grindr and frequented gay bars.
The organization announced on Tuesday that Burill had resigned as its general secretary. His work as general secretary involved coordinating all administrative work and planning for the conference. He had been the organization’s top administrator since last November.
The media outlet first learned about Burill’s activities from a data vendor before they hired a consulting firm to investigate the records.
Per the media outlet’s report, the data showed that Burill used the dating app almost every day in 2018, 2019, and 2020. “Data app signals suggest he was at the same time engaged in serial and illicit sexual activity,” The Pillar added.
The media outlet also revealed that in June 2018, Burill emitted signals from Entourage, a gay bathhouse in Las Vegas.
Priests like Burill are required to take a vow of celibacy. Per Catholic teachings, sexual activity outside of heterosexual marriage is also considered a sin.
There are currently no federal laws that prohibit the buying of “anonymized” data. However, privacy experts have repeatedly raised concerns about data sold to advertising companies.
Anonymized data can still include gender, age, and device ID, so some people say anonymizing data is impossible.
Grindr said The Pillar’s reporting is “homophobic” and denied that it’s possible to publicly access their data. “The alleged activities listed in that unattributed blog post are infeasible from a technical standpoint and incredibly unlikely to occur,” said a Grindr spokesperson.
Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest who advocates for LGBTQ inclusion in the Catholic church, wrote on Facebook: “The article … repeatedly conflated homosexuality with pedophilia … These witch hunts, usually aimed at vulnerable people working for the church, or targeting people that the authors don’t agree with or just don’t like, must end.”
Source: The Guardian