A Pennsylvania Catholic priest is accused of stealing nearly $100,000 in church donations to pay men he met on Grindr for sex acts and to pay off his personal credit cards, prosecutors said.
Rev. Joseph McLoone, 56, was arrested on felony theft and related charges Wednesday after investigators revealed that he opened a secret checking account in 2011 to deposit $98,405.50 in donations from parishioners at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Downingtown, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office announced.
McLoone allegedly funneled the stolen donation checks into an unauthorized “St. Joseph Activity Account” at TD Bank for the next six years, according to Chester County district attorney chief of staff Charles Gaza.
“Father McLoone held a position of leadership and his parishioners trusted him to properly handle their generous donations to the church,” Gaza said in a statement. “Father McLoone violated the trust of the members of St. Joseph’s for his own personal gain.”
He used the account to fund his “personal lifestyle” which “included a beach house, travel, dining, and spending on adult men with whom he maintained sexual relationships,” according to the attorney’s office.
McLoone allegedly sent thousands of dollars to men he met on the dating app Grindr, according to a complaint obtained by Philadelphia Magazine.
He allegedly made 17 payments totaling $1,720 to men he met on Grindr via the Square online payment app and doubled the fee he collected as a stipend for each Mass, wedding and funeral held at St. Joseph’s Parish, prosecutors claim.
According to the NY Post:
McLoone admitted to using some of the funds to pay for his “personal relationships” with other men, including $1,200 McLoone deposited into the commissary account of an inmate in a New York correctional facility, according to a criminal complaint.
The inmate, identified in court documents as Brian Miller, was never a Pennsylvania resident and had no previous connection to McLoone’s church. McLoone told investigators that Miller lived in New York City and that he met the inmate via Grindr for a sexual relationship, the complaint shows.
He’s also accused of using $3,000 of the stolen funds to pay off personal credit cards.
“These charges are serious and disturbing,” the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said in a statement released Wednesday. “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.”
“What he did with his own personal money is his business,” attorney Melissa McCafferty said. “It may be between him and the archdiocese, but it’s not between him and law enforcement.”