British news media are reporting that Andrew Sloane, former assistant vicar of St. Paul’s Knightsbridge, has been convicted of stealing almost $19,000 USD from the church to pay for male prostitutes. Sloane, 63, is accused of taking money from a church safe, as well as tricking parishioners into making loans to him on the basis of false pretenses.
The news underscores the prevalence of embezzlement in churches, with an estimated 30% of all church employees stealing at some point in their careers. Moreover, total theft worldwide may dwarf the money spent on outreach, according to some sources.
Full disclosure: St. Paul’s is a sister parish to one where this author frequently worships. I have met Fr. Sloane on multiple occasions, and he is the former rector of the parish.