A Pennsylvania priest stands accused of stealing nearly $100,000 in church donations to spend on personal credit card payments, a beach house and even Grindr hookups.
The Rev. Joseph McLoone, 56, was arrested Wednesday on felony theft by unlawful taking and related charges, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office announced Wednesday. They accuse him of stealing $98,405.50 from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.
“Father McLoone accomplished this theft by diverting parish funds into a secret account, misappropriating fees charged to parishioners, and other fraudulent activity,” prosecutors state.
An investigation into his activity began last year.
“In early 2018, it came to the attention of Archdiocesan administration that Monsignor McLoone had established a bank account in the name of the parish that was not on the parish books,” the Archdiocese of Pennsylvania said in a statement.
McLoone allegedly opened the account with TD in 2011, named the “St. Joseph Activity Account.” Authorities say that over a six-year period, he funneled roughly $125,000 in parishioner donations to the account.
“The defendant created the activity account for the purpose of avoiding disclosure of the funds to the diocese and ensuring that nobody at the parish could see what these funds were being spent on,” the attorney’s office alleges.
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.
“Father McLoone held a position of leadership and his parishioners trusted him to properly handle their generous donations to the church,” District Attorney Chief of Staff Charles Gaza stated. “Father McLoone violated the trust of the members of St. Joseph’s for his own personal gain.”
McLoone is currently out on bail.
“What he did with his own personal money is his business,” his attorney Melissa McCafferty told the New York Post. “It may be between him and the archdiocese, but it’s not between him and law enforcement.”
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