Rev. Joseph Connell McLoone used stolen money for travel, dining, and relationships with men
Monsignor Joseph McLoone was arrested this week in Pennsylvania after being accused of stealing nearly $100k of church funds and using the money for his own personal use, including intimate relationships with men.
Msgr McLoone, who been on administrative leave from St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Downingtown, Pennsylvania for over a year, was arrested on August 21 accused of stealing $98,405.50 from the church and funneling it into his own undisclosed account.
In 2010, before he was made pastor of St. Joseph's Church, McLoone, whose parents are from Co Donegal, was inducted into the Delaware Valley Irish Hall of Fame. At the time, McLoone served as chaplain for both the Donegal Association and the Delaware Valley Irish Hall of Fame.
In an August 21 statement, Charles Gaza, the Chester County district attorney chief of staff, said: “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.”
The statement says that McLoone opened the bank account in 2011 and named it “St. Joseph Activity Account.”
“Over the next six years, the defendant diverted approximately $125,000 in donation checks written to the St. Joseph’s Parish into this account.” Authorities were able to recover some of the stolen money.
The stolen funds were reportedly from donations to the church and school, special collections held during masses, fees for weddings and funerals, and “other gifts” made to the Pennsylvania church.
McLoone is accused of stealing $39,543.00 from the church’s annual All Souls Day collections.
“The defendant took full advantage of the lack of control over the activity account and used it to fund his personal lifestyle. His lifestyle included a beach house, travel, dining, and spending on adult men with whom he maintained sexual relationships.
“The defendant additionally supplemented his income by doubling the stipend he collected for saying each mass and performing weddings and funerals.”
Authorities say that McLoone ultimately stole $98,405 from the parish. Thousands of dollars of the stolen money was withdrawn in Ocean City, New Jersey, where McLoone has a vacation house.
The statement adds: “The defendant made thousands of dollars in payments directly from the activity account to his personal credit cards. The defendant made thousands of dollars in payments directly to men with whom he maintained relationships via Square and JPay online services.
“The defendant further gave himself a pay raise by doubling the amount he collected as a stipend for each mass, wedding, and funeral held at St. Joseph’s Parish.”
McLoone was arrested on August 21 and charged with "felony theft and related crimes." Philly Mag reports the priest is out on $50,000 bail.
McLoone's attorney Melissa McCafferty told The Philadelphia Inquirer: “The Chester County District Attorney’s Office is overreaching,” she said Wednesday.
“They filed these charges based off speculation, conjecture, and innuendo.... They won’t be able to prove them.
“Father Joe is a true priest, through and through," McCafferty added. “He is so anxious to get back to the ministry.”
On August 21, the same day that McLoone was arrested, St. Joseph's Church issued a statement on their Facebook page:
Important Message to Our Parishioners: Dear Friends in Christ, As many of you have seen in news reports throughout the...Publiée par St Joseph Parish Downingtown sur Mercredi 21 août 2019
It read in part: " 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. Pending the outcome, Monsignor McLoone remains on administrative leave."