Metro Weekly

Catholic priest pleads guilty to spending church money on Grindr dates and boyfriends

Joseph McLoone, former priest at St. Joseph's in Downingtown, used church funds to pay for sexual relationships with men

priest, church, joseph mcloone, gay, grindr
Joseph McLoone and St. Joseph Catholic Church — Photos: Chester County District Attorney / Facebook

A Catholic priest in Pennsylvania has pleaded guilty to stealing more than $30,000 from his church and using the money to fund Grindr dates and sexual relationships.

Monsignor Joseph McLoone, former priest at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Downingtown, Pa., was arrested in 2019 following a yearlong police investigation.

[Read More: Catholic priest accused of spending church money on Grindr and boyfriends]

The 58-year-old was accused of opening a secret checking account in 2011, which he used to steal $98,405.50 in donations from parishioners and other church funds over the next seven years.

Police accused him of using the money to pay for “personal relationships” with other men, to send thousands of dollars to people he met using gay dating app Grindr, and also to fund meals, travel, and a beach home in Ocean City, New Jersey.

At the time of his arrest, he faced 18 charges, including multiple counts of felony theft. McLoone ultimately pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts — theft by failure to make required disposition of funds and theft by unlawful taking — and admitted to stealing $30,892.50, the Daily Local News reports.

He was sentenced to five years of probation, nine months of which will be served under house arrest, and ordered to write letters of apology to St. Joseph’s parishioners and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.

One St. Joseph’s parishioner told the Daily Local that they were “disgusted” with McLoone’s sentence, given he “stole a lot of money from people who trusted him.”

“Worse, he stole money given to him by grieving families,” they said. “The parish has been waiting more than three years to see justice served. Probation and paying back $30,000 is not justice. McLoone should be in jail.”

[Related: Priest caught stealing from church to buy drugs for gay sex parties]

McLoone escaped a harsher sentence, including jail time, due to his lack of a criminal record, his willingness to admit guilt, and the “mutual desire to put the matter in the past and spare the parish any further trauma with a lengthy trial,” according to the Daily Local.

Now that McLoone has been sentenced, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said it would conduct its own canonical investigation into the stolen church funds.

“It is the policy of the archdiocese not to proceed with a canonical investigation until law enforcement has concluded its work,” an archdiocese spokesman said in a statement.

“Now that civil authorities have completed their procedures, the canonical investigation can commence. Any administrative penalties against Monsignor McLoone would be pending the outcome of that process.”

He added: “The archdiocese and the parish are grateful for the resolution in this matter along with the closure and healing it brings.”

Related:

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Priest caught stealing from church to buy drugs for gay sex parties

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