Monsignor Joseph McLoone, 56, was arrested Wednesday on felony theft and related charges after investigators discovered that in 2011 he opened a secret bank account to which he funneled donations from the parishioners of St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Downingtown, the Chester County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release.
“Father McLoone held a position of leadership and his parishioners trusted him to properly handle their generous donations to the church,” District Attorney Chief of Staff Charles Gaza said. “Father McLoone violated the trust of the members of St. Joseph’s for his own personal gain.”
He used the money to fund his “personal lifestyle,” including to pay for a beach house in Ocean City, N.J. and to bankroll his travel, dining and relationships with men he met on dating apps, prosecutors said. He also allegedly gave himself a raise, doubling his stipend for celebrating Mass and officiating at weddings and funerals.
The Archdiocesan administration learned about the bank account in 2018 and questioned McLoone, who acknowledged the account was in violation of standard financial procedures and admitted he'd used some of the funds for "personal expenses of an inappropriate nature," the Archdiocese of Philadelphia said in a statement.
The account was closed and McLoone was put on administrative leave before he resigned from the parish, the Archdiocese said.
"These charges are serious and disturbing,” the statement read. “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.”
Church officials pledged to pursue full financial restitution on behalf of the parish.