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Notorious Pedophile Priest Stephen Kiesle Charged In Fatal DUI Crash In Walnut Creek

MARTINEZ (CBS SF) -- Stephen Kiesle, a notorious former Catholic priest twice convicted of child molestation, has been charged in a fatal crash that killed a man in Walnut Creek, authorities announced.

Walnut Creek police said the 75-year-old Kiesle was driving under the influence of alcohol at around 9:15 p.m. Saturday when he struck a couple on a sidewalk in the retirement community of Rossmoor.

The Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office said 64-year-old Curtis Gunn and his wife Laurelyn, were walking near their home on Tice Creek Drive near Fairlawn Court when Kiesle's vehicle veered onto the sidewalk, hitting Mr. Gunn and sideswiping Mrs. Gunn.

Curtis Gunn died of his injuries at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. Laurelyn Gun suffered only minor injuries.

Stephen Kiesle
Stephen Kiesle (California Department of Justice)

Kiesle was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility on $600,000 bail. He faces charges of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence causing injury with a special allegation of great bodily injury. Two other special allegations involve being a previous felon for his prior convictions on lewd and lascivious acts on a child under 13-years-old.

Kiesle, who was assigned to churches in Oakland, Pittsburg, Pinole and Union City, was at the center of sexual abuse allegations in the 1970s and '80s. He received a suspended sentence for child sexual abuse in 1978. Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger -- who later became Pope Benedict XVI -- finally removed Kiesle as a member of the clergy in 1987, six years after the end of his suspended sentence.

In 2002, Kiesle was charged with 13 counts of child molestation from the '70s, but the cases were not brought to trial because of the statute of limitations. In 2004, he was sentenced to six years for abusing a girl in Truckee. He registered as a sex offender after serving prison time and moved to Rossmoor in 2010.

Kiesle will be arraigned in Martinez on Thursday.


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