A Catholic church official was forced to resign after a Catholic media outlet accused him of being a frequent Grindr user and a regular at gay bars

Catholic Church
Wisconsin-based priest Jeffrey Burrill has resigned from his position at the administrative body of the US Catholic church. NurPhoto / Getty Images
  • Wisconsin-based priest Jeffrey Burrill resigned after records of his activity on gay hookup app Grindr were published.
  • The Pillar, a Catholic news outlet, published an article claiming Burrill’s phone data showed he visited gay bars while using Grindr.
  • Catholic priests are required to take vows of celibacy.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

A top US priest resigned from his administrative post after being outed this week by a Catholic media publication that accused him of being a frequent user of the gay hookup app Grindr.

Wisconsin-based priest Jeffrey Burrill, who was elected as the general secretary of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops last November, resigned this week from his post, according to a statement released by Archbishop of Los Angeles Rev. José Gomez on July 20.

Burrill’s resignation preceded an investigative article released on July 21 by the Pillar, a Christian publication that calls itself a “media project” by “committed and informed Catholics who love the Church.”

In the article, the Pillar cited an “analysis of app data signals correlated to Burrill’s mobile device,” which they say was procured from commercial sources. The media outlet wrote that these data signals they saw indicated the priest frequented gay bars and homes while using the Grindr app.

According to the Pillar, Burrill used Grindr from 2018 to 2020. The media outlet also wrote that Burrill’s device emitted data signals on June 22 this year from the location of Entourage Spa, a gay bathhouse in Las Vegas.

“Data app signals suggest he was at the same time engaged in serial and illicit sexual activity,” wrote the Pillar.

Priests like Burrill are required to take vows of celibacy.

In his statement on Burrill’s resignation, Gomez said that the US Conference of Catholic Bishops was aware of “possible improper behavior.”

“To avoid becoming a distraction to the operations and ongoing work of the Conference, (Burrill) has resigned effective immediately,” read the statement. “The Conference takes all allegations of misconduct seriously and will pursue all appropriate steps to address them.”

Speaking to the Washington Post, a spokeswoman for Grindr said the Pillar’s story was “homophobic” and denied that Grindr data could be procured in the way that the Pillar described.

“The alleged activities listed in that unattributed blog post are infeasible from a technical standpoint and incredibly unlikely to occur,” the spokeswoman said in a statement to the Post. “There is absolutely no evidence supporting the allegations of improper data collection or usage related to the Grindr app as purported.”

The Pillar did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider on how exactly Burrill’s phone data was obtained.