London priest stole from parishioners and collection plate

by Margaret Wessel Walker

Andrew Sloane was associate vicar of St. Pauls, Knightbridge in London when he managed to convince several parishioners to “loan” him thousands of pounds, and then stole another four thousand pounds from collection money. He then used the money to pay for male prostitutes. He has been suspended by the Church of England, and also sentenced to 12 months in jail.

Sloane told three women in the parish that he needed emergency loans and manipulated them into transferring over 10,000 pounds to him between them. He then told them to keep the loans a secret, thereby covering his tracks. In emails to the women, he said things like,  “This is strictly between us as friends”, “I appreciate your discretion” and “I don’t want tittle tattle within the parish”. The loans weren’t uncovered until almost four thousand pounds went missing from the church collection. CCTV coverage showed Sloane taking money from the safe, and he admitted the theft. Sloane eventually repaid the fraudulent loans in full.

A spokesman for the Diocese of London said: “Andrew Sloane took advantage of the trust that his parishioners placed in him as their priest. There is no excuse for what he did and we can only apologise to those who fell victim to his crimes. Andrew Sloane was suspended as soon as news of the charges against him was made known by the authorities and we have fully supported the criminal investigation.”

Sloane was previously the rector of St Paul’s K St in Washington, DC.

[Story updated to reflect that Sloane was associate vicar, not vicar, at Knightsbridge.]
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Tim Kruse
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Tim Kruse

That is scary stuff indeed. I read your linked article, and am left wondering what the percentage is for the Episcopal Church. We're all supposed to follow the church's "Manual of Business Methods". Follow that would include an annual audit, so I would think it'd be difficult to dip one's hand into the till. Just what part of "fiduciary duty" do people not understand or want to follow?

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Eric Bonetti
Member

This story underscores another point, which is that some sources claim that church fraud is endemic. Specifically:

- An estimated 30 percent of church workers steal at some point in their careers.
- The average church loss due to embezzlement exceeds $120,000.
- The vast majority of thefts go unreported.
- Total thefts from churches worldwide may exceed total expenditures on outreach.

See, e.g., http://www.sharefaith.com/blog/2015/09/18-church-embezzlement/

Scary stuff.

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Eric Bonetti
Member

One of the great warning signs of clergy misconduct is being asked to keep a secret. Clergy are expected to maintain confidences, and churches have a great deal of information that is confidential. But that is not the same as secrets. Churches should have few, if any, secrets.

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Simon Sarmiento
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Simon Sarmiento

No trace of him on this page https://www.stpaulsknightsbridge.org/who-we-are/the-team/
Crockford's records he ceased to serve as Curate in 2015.

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Allie Graham
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Allie Graham

This headline feels misleading - for a moment I was confused as Alan Gyle has been Vicar there for over a decade. He served as lead pastor in the US more recently than as Vicar in the UK. As a US source perhaps emphasize his connection to US churches or his (prior) proper position in the U.K.

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