Catholic priest allegedly stole almost $100,000 from church, spent it on Grindr dates, vacations

A Catholic priest was arrested in Pennsylvania Wednesday for allegedly stealing almost $100,000 in church donations, money authorities say he spent on traveling and his dating life.  

Father Joseph McLoone, a former priest with St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Downingtown, Pa., was charged with felony theft and other related crimes, according to the Chester County District Attorney's Office

Prosecutors say McLoone, 56, managed to steal $98,405.50 from the church over a seven-year span between 2011 and 2018. Large portions of that amount reportedly went toward vacations, dinners and a beach house in New Jersey

McLoone also allegedly sent thousands of church dollars to men he met on Grindr, a dating app for gay men.

According to a police complaint obtained by Philadelphia Magazine, McLoone — who took an oath of celibacy as part of his priesthood — would meet other men on the app and transfer them funds through services such as Square and J-Pay. He made at least 27 of these payments, according to investigators. 

"Father McLoone held a position of leadership and his parishioners trusted him to properly handle their generous donations to the church," the Chester County D.A.'s office said in a statement. "Father McLoone violated the trust of the members of St. Joseph for his own personal gain." 

The Archdiocese of Philadelphia had placed McLoone on leave in 2018 after learning about a secret bank account that he was allegedly using to embezzle funds. 

"These charges are serious and disturbing," Kenneth Gavin, chief communications officer for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, told Philadelphia Magazine this week. "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."

McLoone originally took over at the church in 2011 after its former priest, William Lynn, was charged with covering up sexual abuse committed by other members of the clergy. He was the first U.S. Catholic Church official convicted of the crime. 

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