WALNUT CREEK (CA)
KRON-TV [San Francisco CA]
April 19, 2022
By Alex Baker
A defrocked Catholic priest who served time in prison for molestation has been charged by the Contra Costa District Attorney on three counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of alcohol, and special allegations for prior felonies, according to a release from the Costa Contra County District Attorney’s Office.
Walnut Creek Police say that 75-year-old Stephen M. Kiesle, who has resided in Rossmoor since 2010, was driving in Rossmoor on the night of April 16 when he struck 64-year-old Curtis Gunn and his wife Laurelyn on a sidewalk. The couple was walking near their home on Tice Creek Drive near Fairlawn Court around 9:15 p.m. when Mrs. Gunn said a vehicle veered on to the sidewalk, striking her husband and sideswiping her.
When officers arrived, they found Mr. Gunn with life-threatening injuries and Mrs. Gunn with minor injuries. The vehicle was on its side and the sole occupant, a male driver later identified as Kiesle, was trapped inside with minor injuries. First responders performed life saving measures on Mr. Gunn prior to transporting him to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.
Kiesle was extricated from his vehicle and arrested for DUI and vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated. He was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility and remains in custody on $600,000 bail. The case is pending review by the District Attorney.
Kiesle has a lengthy criminal history and was at the center of sexual abuse allegations when he was an Oakland Dioceses priest in the 1970s and ’80s. He was removed as a member of the clergy in 1987 by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who later became Pop Benedict XVI.Case of San Jose teen found dead near creek bank in 2003 remains unsolved
The Contra Costa DA’s Office charged Kiesle with 13 counts of child molestation from the ’70s in 2002. In 2004, he was sentenced to six years for molestation charges involving a girl in Truckee, CA. After serving time in prison, he registered as a sex offender and moved to Rossmoor in 2010.
Kiesle is set to be arraigned on April 21, at 1:35 p.m. in Martinez. Anyone with information pertaining to the case if urged to contact the Walnut Creek PD Dispatch at (925) 935-6400.