Police have accused a Pennsylvania priest of stealing nearly $100,000 from parishioners, giving at least some of the money to men he met on Grindr.
The Chester County District Attorney has accused Joseph McLoone of stealing $98,405.50 in donations and church funds since 2011. According to police, McLoone opened a secret checking account and funnelled money from the church for his own personal use.
Among McLoone’s alleged expenditures was $1,200 paid to an inmate in a New York correctional facility. According to the criminal complaint, McLoone told investigators that he met the inmate on Grindr for a sexual relationship.
That’s in addition to 17 other payments, totaling $1,720, to Grindr acquaintances.
The Archdiocese of Philadelphia conducted an investigation of McLoone over a year ago, placing him on administrative leave before he eventually resigned.
“The Archdiocese does not believe that Sunday collections, contributions to the parish capital campaign, or school and PREP tuition fees were deposited therein,” the organization wrote in a statement. “Deposits to this account consisted of some donations as well as other revenue generated by the parish.”
Though McLoone resigned in 2018, the Archdiocese maintained that he “remains on administrative leave.”
McLoone’s attorney, Melissa McCafferty, claims the money in the account belonged to her client along. “What he did with his own personal money is his business,” she told the New York Post. “It may be between him and the archdiocese, but it’s not between him and law enforcement.”
This isn’t the first time that church officials have run into trouble with Grindr. In 2016, officials at St. Patrick’s College in Ireland launched an investigation into allegations that trainee Catholic priests were using the app. In response, church leaders began diverting students to Rome, presumably under the impression that would be fewer homosexual temptations there.
Earlier this month, prosecutors dropped charges against a South Carolina priest who sent explicit images to a minor on Grindr. Chat transcripts indicated that the minor had led the priest to believe he was communicating with an adult.
In 2015, an Italian priest was arrested for committing statutory rape with minors he met through the app.
In fact, 2015 was a particularly busy year for religious officials. Minnesota priest Matthew Makela, who had previously made strong anti-LGBTQ+ statements, resigned from St. John’s Lutheran Church after screenshots showed him soliciting sex via Grindr. Reverend Peter Miqueli was sued for stealing $1 million to finance a sexually adventurous lifestyle.
The latter news came after a former priest named Mario Bonfanti alleged that the church was sending priests suspected of homosexuality to a “gay cure” convent.