Prosecutors Say Priest Stole From Church, Spent Money On Beach House & Grindr Dates

Father Joseph McLoone, 56, has been charged with felony theft, according to a Pennsylvania district attorney.

August 23, 2019
Mug shot of Joseph McLoone [Chester County District Attorney]

Photo by: Mug shot of Joseph McLoone [Chester County District Attorney]

Mug shot of Joseph McLoone [Chester County District Attorney]

By: Mike McPadden

A Catholic priest in Pennsylvania has been arrested for allegedly stealing nearly $100,000 in church funds and spending it on a beach house, luxury trips, lavish meals, and people he allegedly met on the dating app Grindr, according to authorities.

Joseph McLoone, 56, is facing felony theft charges, according to a press release from the Chester County Prosecutor's Office. Authorities allege McLoone funneled money from St. Joseph's Church into a secret account for about six years, beginning in November 2011.

Authorities allege the thefts began a few months after McLoone took over as pastor at St. Joseph's, where he replaced Monsignor William Lynn. McLoone's predecessor was convicted for his alleged role in covering up clergy abuse, according to Philadelphia's WCAU-TV. However, that conviction was later vacated, and Monsignor Lynn was released on bail. He is currently awaiting a retrial.

The district attorney's office claims McLoone opened a bank account labeled the "St. Joseph's Activity Account," into which he diverted donation checks made out to the church.

Prosecutors allege McLoone used the stolen money for expenses related to his beach house in New Jersey, as well as to pay for meals, travel, and other personal expenses.

One specific allegation states McLoone took money collected during the church's annual All Souls Day celebration and converted it into checks written out to himself and other individuals, totaling nearly $40,000.

Prosecutors further allege McLoone doubled the stipend he collected for each mass, baptism, wedding, and funeral he performed.

According to an affidavit from the Chester County District Attorney's Office, McLoone allegedly admitted to investigators he used some of the misappropriated funds to pay for "personal relationships."

The district attorney's office claims McLoone made 10 online payments in 2018 totaling more than $1,200 to Brian Miller, an inmate incarcerated in New York. McLoone allegedly met Miller on Grindr.

Court documents further allege McLoone made 17 payments totaling $1,720 to others he met on Grindr between April 2015 and April 2017.

In February 2018, the Archdiocese of Philadelphia reportedly froze the St. Joseph's Activity Account, and church officials began investigating the parish's financial records. The Archdiocese released a statement saying McLoone, "acknowledged that some expenditures" went to "personal expenses of an inappropriate nature."

In the same statement, the Archdiocese wrote, "These charges are serious and disturbing. The Archdiocese and the parish will continue to cooperate with law enforcement as the criminal matter enters its next phase."

Chester County District Attorney Chief of Staff Charles Gaza stated, "Father McLoone held a position of leadership, and his parishioners trusted him to properly handle their generous donations to the church. Father McLoone violated the trust of the members of St. Joseph's for his own personal gain."

Melissa McCafferty, McLoone's attorney, told NBC News her client is innocent.

"Father Joe wants, needs, and deserves a lot of pushback," McCafferty said. "These assertions are absurd … This DA's office is notorious for filing charges on suspicions and conjecture. These accusations came about from a private letter sent to his employer, not from anything criminally substantial."

McLoone has reportedly been released on $50,000 unsecured bail and ordered to appear for a preliminary hearing on September 18.

Next Up

Utah Investigators ‘Looking At Everything’ After Camping Couple Found Fatally Shot

Could the newlywed’s murders be related to Gabrielle Petito going missing while on a road trip in the area with her fiancé?

How Former Street Preacher Tony Alamo Went From Millionaire To Convicted Criminal

The convicted child sex abuser once insisted that “consent is puberty.”

True Crime News Roundup: Woman Accused Of Killing Two State Troopers, Pedestrian In DUI Crash

Plus: N.C. man found dead on rural road; judge rules Chad Daybell and Lori Vallow to be tried together; Hillsong megachurch founder resigns; and Pamela Smart denied chance for reduced sentence.

Dentist Accused of Killing Wife During African Hunting Trip

More than five years after Bianca Finizio Rudolph was shot during a big game hunting trip, police have zeroed in on her dentist husband.

UPDATE: Queens Handyman Arrested and Charged In Murder Of Orsolya Gaal

Orsolya Gaal was found stabbed nearly 60 times in a duffel bag about a half-mile from her home. David Bonola has been arrested and charged with her murder.

True Crime News Roundup: Body of Hannah Choi Found In Maryland, Ex-Boyfriend Remains At Large

Plus: Elderly Ohio man shoots teenager intruder; Charles Manson follower Leslie Van Houten parole blocked; ex-cop Amber Guyger’s murder conviction upheld; and scandal continues to roil megachurch Hillsong.

Stabbed In The Back: Skylar Neese Was Murdered By Her ‘Best Friends’

In July 2012, Skylar Neese, 16, thought she was sneaking out of her West Virginia home to hang out with her friends — but they had other plans.

5 Things To Know About Ax Killer Candy Montgomery

She thought having an affair with her best friend’s husband would add excitement to her life. Instead, when found out, she killed her best friend in a brutal attack.

Pastor Beats, Kills Elderly Couple After They Suspect He’s Stealing Their Money

“They cared about others, perhaps too much,” the murderer said while delivering the two 90-year-olds’ eulogy before his arrest.

The Scandals That Led To The Downfall Of Televangelist Jim Bakker

The televangelist reached thousands of homes in the 1970s and 1980s until a series of scandals forced him to walk away from the empire he built.