STROUDSBURG – A former Monroe County pastor will spend five years on probation after being sentenced on child sex charges.
On Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022, the Honorable Jonathan Mark, Common Pleas Court Judge of Monroe County, sentenced Gregory Loughney at the Monroe County Courthouse in Stroudsburg.
Loughney, the former pastor of Most Holy Trinity Parish, Cresco, was arrested in Oct. 2021 by the Pocono Mountain Regional Police Department. He was accused of exchanging explicit messages – and trying to meet – a 15-year-old boy who was actually a member of an online predator catchers group.
Loughney pleaded no contest in July 2022 to charges of attempted indecent assault and attempted corruption of minors.
“There is no question his conduct was aberrational,” James Swetz, an attorney representing Loughney, said at the sentencing hearing. “He has paid a severe price for it and will continue to pay a price.”
In addressing the judge before sentencing, Assistant District Attorney Michael Rakaczewski said that law enforcement analyzed both Loughney’s cell phone and computer following his arrest. He believes this situation was an “isolated matter.”
In handing down his sentence, Judge Mark called what took place “very significant” and “distressing for the community,” but also acknowledged there was “nothing indicating this happened on more than one occasion.”
Upon learning of the allegations, the Diocese of Scranton immediately removed Father Loughney from active ministry and notified the parishes, schools, and other diocesan facilities where Father Loughney had ministered. The Diocese also cooperated fully in the law enforcement investigation.
When asked about his employment by Judge Mark, Loughney himself addressed his position.
“I will not be returning to any formal ministry,” Loughney told the judge.
When allowed to address the judge before sentencing, Loughney later only added, “I am looking forward to turning the page” and getting this incident behind him.
In addition to serving five years on probation, the judge also imposed several other conditions upon Loughney, including a requirement to be on the Megan’s Law registry for 15 years.
The Most Rev. Joseph C. Bambera, Bishop of Scranton, released the following statement on the Oct. 19 sentencing:
“The details of this case and the behavior with which Father Loughney was charged were extremely troubling and unsettling. I am so sorry and deeply regret the harm that has been done, which extends to parishioners, to our priests who serve with great integrity, and to the entire community of northeastern and north central Pennsylvania. I hope today’s sentencing will bring closure to this painful ordeal. I ask that our gracious and generous Lord, who is filled with love, bring healing to all those who have been hurt by this situation.
“If there is anyone with further information to share or anyone else who may have suffered harm – I strongly encourage them to report this information to law enforcement.
“The Diocese of Scranton remains committed to creating a safe environment for all children and to foster healing for those who have experienced abuse. Any individual who has been sexually abused by a priest, deacon, religious, lay employee or volunteer of the Diocese is urged to report abuse directly to law enforcement. The Diocese also offers counseling, spiritual guidance and pastoral care for anyone impacted by clergy abuse. If you have suffered abuse by clergy or anyone working on behalf of the Diocese, you are encouraged to contact Victim Assistance Coordinator, Mary Beth Pacuska, at (570) 862-7551.”