A former Oakland priest accused of sexually abusing dozens of children was arrested in Rossmoor Saturday night after his car jumped a curb and ran down a man and wife.
Stephen Kiesle, 75, a former Oakland priest who served six years in prison after pleading no contest to molesting a minor girl in 1995, was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility Saturday night – initially charged with gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and DUI.
Kiesle’s bail upon booking was set at $250,000.
Police said Kiesle was behind the wheel when his car jumped the curb and ran down Curtis Gunn and his wife Laurelyn, Rossmoor residents along with Kiesle, at Fairlawn Court and Tice Creek Drive at around 9:05 p.m. Saturday night.
The collision triggered a lengthy rescue and recovery effort at the scene. Gunn’s wife escaped the crash with minor injuries – as did Kiesle.
Along with his criminal history, the former priest has been named in dozens of lawsuits accusing him of sexually abusing minors, including several filed in recent years after he was forced out of the Catholic church.
Ordained in 1972, Kiesle pleaded no contest to lewd conduct for tying up and molesting two boys at Our Lady of the Rosary parish in Union City, where he was a priest and teacher, six years later.
In 1981, Kiesle’s request to be removed from the priesthood began a laborious process within the church, a process that eventually saw its way to the Vatican. He was eventually defrocked in 1987.
In 2002, Kiesle was charged with molesting five children three decades earlier when he was a priest at Santa Paula Church in Fremont. Charges against him were dropped the following year when the U.S. Supreme Court invalidated portions of a 1994 California law that had extended the statute of limitations for child molestation.
In 2004, Kiesle pleaded no contest to molesting a young girl at his Truckee home in 1995 and was sentenced to six years in prison.