Former Downingtown Pastor Sentenced for Theft from St. Joseph’s Catholic Church

Father Joseph McLooneFather Joseph McLoone (Photo via Chester County District Attorney's Office)

WEST CHESTER, PA — The Chester County District Attorney’s Office announced that Father Joseph McLoone, 58, of Bryn Mawr, PA, pled guilty on Friday to theft and related charges for stealing more than $30,000 in parish funds while serving as the pastor for St. Joseph’s Church in Downingtown for seven years.

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

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The defendant 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. 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.

The defendant 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.

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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