A Pennsylvania priest was arrested for stealing nearly $100,000 from his church and using the money to party with men that he met on the hook-up and dating app Grindr.
58-year-old Monsignor Joseph McLoone is accused of stealing more than $98,400 from St. Joseph Catholic Church in Downingtown and using the funds for personal expenses. McLoone was being investigated by both the church and the police for at least a year before his arrest.
The investigation revealed that McLoone opened a secret checking account in 2011, just one year after he joined the church. McLoone was brought in that year to replace Father William Lynn, a disgraced priest who was indicted and arrested for covering up abuse among the clergy.
Investigators say that McLoone diverted parishioner donations into that account and spent the next seven years using that money to supplement his income. McLoone is accused of using that money to pay for travel, dinners, and even a beach home in Ocean City, New Jersey. It is also alleged that he spent over $3,000 of the church’s money to pay off personal credit card bills.
When McLoone was ultimately confronted by church authorities, he admitted to taking the money to pay for “personal relationships.”
In some cases, McLoone sent money directly to men that he met on Grindr, using online payment systems like Square and J-Pay. According to court filings, these payments include a $1,200 transfer to an inmate in a New York correctional facility.
In addition to the transfer made to the prisoner, McLoone also sent 17 separate payments to other men he met online, spending an additional $1,720 in donated funds.
“Father McLoone held a position of leadership and his parishioners trusted him to properly handle their generous donations to the church. Father McLoone violated the trust of the members of St. Joseph for his own personal gain,” an official from the Chester County D.A.’s office in a statement.
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Kenneth Gavin, chief communications officer for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, told PhillyMag that McLoone is on administrative leave, pending the outcome of the investigation.
“These charges are serious and disturbing. The Archdiocese and the parish will continue to cooperate with law enforcement as the criminal matter enters its next phase. Pending the outcome, Monsignor McLoone remains on administrative leave. Information regarding his arrest will be shared with the Saint Joseph Parish community,” Gavin said.
McLoone is currently out on bail, but is now facing 18 charges, which include multiple counts of felony theft.