DOWNINGTOWN, PA. – A Pennsylvania priest was arrested for stealing nearly $100,000 from his church to fund his beach house, travel expenses,, and his spending on men who he had sexual relationships with.
Father Joseph McLoone stole $98,405.50 from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Downingtown, Pennsylvania, Chester County District Attorney officials said. District Attorney’s officials also claim that Joseph McLoone, 56, of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, diverted parish funds into a secret account. By doing so he misappropriated fees charged to parishioners. McLoone opened an account at TD Bank, which he named St Joseph Activity Account on November 2, 2011. This was the first All Souls holiday while he was a pastor at the church.
Over the next six years he diverted around $125,000 in donation checks written to the St Joseph Parish into this account. The activity account was opened to avoid disclosing where the funds were being spent. 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.
District Attorney officials said that the sources of these diverted funds included donations for the use of the church and school by community groups, donations from the congregation related to special collections held during masses, fees paid to the parish for weddings and funerals by those married at the church or holding funeral services for a loved one, and other gifts made out to St. Joseph’s Parish.
Without the knowledge of his parishioners, McLoone doubled the stipend that he collected for mass, performing weddings, and performing funerals. Thousands of dollars were withdrawn in Ocean City, New Jersey, where McLoone owns a vacation home. Thousands of dollars also went to pay men who he had relationships with. Payments to the men were made via Square and JPay online services. McLoone also made thousands of dollars in payments to his personal credit cards directly from the activity account.
The defendant has been charged with felony theft and related crimes. He was arrested today, August 21, 2019. His bail was set at $50,000 unsecured. This case was investigated by the Chester County Detectives. Anybody with further information should contact Detective Bernard Martin at 610-344-6866. The assigned prosecutor is Caitlin Rice.
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