Downingtown Priest Sentenced In $30K Theft From St. Joseph Church

DOWNINGTOWN, PA — Father McLoone seemed repentant and he will serve five years of court supervision after confessing to committing a crime — one that broke the commandment not to steal.

Joseph McLoone, 58, of Bryn Mawr, pleaded guilty to theft and related charges for stealing more than $30,000 in parish funds during the seven years he was pastor for St. Joseph’s Church in Downingtown.

While commandments and confession are not matters of law, Chester County’s District Attorney decried the moral failure the case represented. District Attorney Deb Ryan said, “This was a disgraceful violation of the trust of the members of St. Joseph’s Church for his personal gain.”

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The District Attorney’s report said McLoone began his service as pastor at St. Joseph’s Church in Downingtown in 2011 after the removal of Msgr. William Lynn. While McLoone served at the church, he stole over $30,000 for his personal use, according to the report.

The money he stole included donations from the congregation related to special collections held during Mass and fees paid to the parish for weddings and funerals by those married at the church or holding funeral services.

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“He used his position as pastor to unlawfully benefit from the parish’s generosity to fund travel, (and for) men he paid with whom he maintained sexual relationships and other personal uses,” Ryan said.

McLoone was sentenced to five years of court supervision, the first nine months completed on electronic home confinement, restitution, and other conditions. He has been on administrative leave since 2018 when parish officials first discovered the improper use of church funds, the D.A.’s report said.

“Given the defendant’s acceptance of responsibility for his illegal activity, the agreement of the parish and Archdiocese, and his intention to make restitution to the church, we believe this was a reasonable resolution. An investigation will now commence by the Archdiocese (of Philadelphia),” Ryan said.

Judge Jacqueline Cody presided, and Chester County Detectives investigated. Assistant District Attorneys Kathleen Wright and Ron Yen were the assigned prosecutors.

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