Martinez, Calif. – A defrocked Catholic priest who has been residing in Rossmoor since 2010 has been charged by the Contra Costa District Attorney on counts of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated, driving under the influence of alcohol, and special allegations for prior felonies.
Walnut Creek Police say 75-year-old Stephen Miller Kiesle [[ KEEZ-lee ]] was driving in Rossmoor on the night of April 16, 2022, 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 pm when Mrs. Gunn said a vehicle veered onto the sidewalk, striking her husband while sideswiping her. Mr. Gunn was later pronounced dead later at John Muir Medical Center in Walnut Creek. Mrs. Gunn suffered minor injuries.
Kiesle, who has a lengthy criminal history, is being held in the Martinez Detention Facility on a $600,000 bail. He was at the center of sexual abuse allegations when he was an Oakland Diocese priest in the 1970s and ‘80s and was removed as a member of the clergy in 1987 by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — who later became Pope Benedict XVI.
In 2002, the Contra Costa District Attorney’s Office charged Kiesle with 13 counts of child molestation from the ‘70s. In 2004, he was sentenced to six years for molestation charges involving a girl in Truckee, CA. He registered as a sex offender after serving prison time and moved to Rossmoor in 2010.
Kiesle will be arraigned on April 21, 2022, at 1:35 pm in Martinez.
Full list of charges: PC191.5(a) – Gross Vehicular Manslaughter While Intoxicated; VC23153(a) – Driving Under The Influence Of An Alcoholic Beverage Causing Injury PC12022.7(a) – Special Allegation-Great Bodily Injury; VC23153(b) – Driving With A .08% Blood Alcohol Content Causing Injury PC12022.7(a) – Special AllegationGreat Bodily Injury; PC1170.12 – Special Allegation – Serious or Violent Felony Prior (STRIKE Prior) – ONE PRIOR PER ALLEGATION PC667(a)(1) – Special Allegation-Cal Prior-Serious Felony (Form 2) ONE ALLEGATION PER SEPARATE PRIOR