A Catholic priest in Pennsylvania has pleaded guilty to stealing money from his church and using it for Grindr dates and sexual relationships.
Monsignor Joseph McLoone, 58, was arrested in 2019 and pleaded guilty to two misdemeanor counts: theft by failure to make required disposition of funds and theft by unlawful taking; admitting to stealing $30,892.50, the Daily Local News reported. He was a former priest at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Downingtown, Pennsylvania.
The police accused McLoone of using the money to pay for “personal relationships” with men, sending thousands of dollars to people he met via Grindr, and on meals, travelling, and a beach home in Ocean City, New Jersey, according to Metro Weekly.
He was sentenced to five years of probation, nine months to be served under house arrest, and ordered to write apology letters 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 told the Daily Local. “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.”
Due to his lack of a criminal record, a willingness to admit guilt, and a “mutual desire to put the matter in the past and spare the parish any further trauma with a lengthy trial,” McLoone escaped a harsher sentence, including jail time, according to the Daily Local.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia said it would conduct an investigation into the stolen church funds now that McLoone has been sentenced.
“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,” an archdiocese spokesman said in a statement.
He added: “The archdiocese and the parish are grateful for the resolution in this matter along with the closure and healing it brings.”