A Chester County priest who took the place of a disgraced Archdiocese official is now in trouble with the law as well after being accused of stealing tens of thousands of dollars from his own church.
Father Joseph McLoone, 56, of Downingtown, Pennsylvania, was arrested Wednesday and charged with felony theft and other related offenses after allegedly stealing $98,405.50 from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Downingtown.
“Father McLoone abused his position of trust with the parishioners at St. Joseph’s in order to line his pockets,” Chester County District Attorney Chief of Staff Charles Gaza said.
McLoone took over as pastor of St. Joseph’s in 2011 following the removal of Monsignor William Lynn. Lynn was accused of concealing child sex abuse from other priests while he worked as secretary for clergy for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia.
During his time at St. Joseph’s, McLoone allegedly used his position to steal money from the church. On Nov. 2, 2011, he opened a TD Bank account named the “St. Joseph Activity Account,” investigators said. He then allegedly diverted approximately $125,000 in donation checks written to the church into the account. The sources for the money included donations from the congregation as well as fees paid to the parish for weddings and funerals, investigators said.
McLoone allegedly used the account to pay for his beach house in Ocean City, New Jersey, travel, dining and sexual relationships with other men. He also doubled the stipend he collected for saying each mass and performing weddings and funerals, according to investigators.
“Instead of taking their normal amount, Father McLoone was paying double the amount to himself and the other priests,” Gaza said. “But there is no indication the other priests knew any of this was going on or that it was illegal and we are not looking at charging the other priests.”
NBC10 reached out to parishioners at the church for comment, including John McCarraher.
“Let it play out in court and he’s in our prayers constantly,” McCarraher said. “I have to read all the facts. Let all the facts come in and we’ll see what happens.”
McLoone’s bail is set at $50,000 unsecured. If you have any additional information on McLoone, please call Detective Bernard Martin at 610-344-6866.