A high-ranking Catholic Church official has resigned from his position after a Catholic news site obtained cellphone data that revealed that he was a regular user of gay dating app Grindr and frequented gay bars.
Monsignor Jeffrey Burill resigned as General Secretary of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, the USCCB said in a statement on Tuesday.
Cellphone Data Linked Burill to Grindr, Gay Bars in Multiple Cities
Hours before the resignation announcement, The Pillar published a report exposing Burill, claiming it had obtained cellphone data Grindr collects from its users, and hired an independent firm to analyze it.
Grindr is location-based social networking app that allows users to view nearby users on app, chat with them, exchange image or arrange to meet up with them for an anonymous sexual encounter. Burill, who was elected as the Gen. Secretary in November 2020, is a priest affiliated with the Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin, and as a priest, he is required to take a vow of celibacy. Homosexual activity is also considered sinful under Catholic doctrine.
The publication claimed an analysis of commercially available records of app data signals linked to Burrill's mobile device shows the priest visited gay bars and private residences while using the location-based hook-up app in several cities between 2018 and 2020, even when he was travelling on assignment for the U.S. bishops' conference.
According to the data, Burill's cellphone emitted app data signals on a near-daily basis during parts of 2018, 2019 and 2020 from his USCCB office, his USCCB-owned residence, as well as during USCCB meetings and events in other cities. For instance, on June 22, 2018, when Burill was in Las Vegas for official work, his cellphone emitted signals from Entourage, which bills itself as a "gay bathhouse."
USCCB Announces Resignation Citing 'Possible Improper Behavior'
The USCCB announced Burill's resignation on Tuesday in a memo to U.S. bishops citing "possible improper behavior." "It is with sadness that I inform you that Msgr. Jeffrey Burrill has resigned as General Secretary of the Conference," Archbishop Jose Gomez wrote.
"On Monday, we became aware of impending media reports alleging possible improper behavior by Msgr. Burrill. What was shared with us did not include allegations of misconduct with minors. However, in order to avoid becoming a distraction to the operations and ongoing work of the Conference, Monsignor has resigned effective immediately," Gomez added.
The memo came after the USCCB and Burrill were contacted by The Pillar regarding evidence of a pattern of sexual misconduct on Burrill's part.