Editor's Note: The headline of this story has been changed to reflect that Kiesle was arrested rather than charged.
A notorious defrocked Oakland, California priest accused of sexually abusing dozens of children was arrested Saturday night after allegedly hitting and killing a pedestrian while driving drunk in a Walnut Creek retirement community, NBC Bay Area’s Investigative Unit has confirmed.
Stephen Kiesle, who served six years in prison after pleading no contest to molesting a young girl in 1995, was booked into the Martinez Detention Facility Saturday night on suspicion of gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated and DUI, according to booking records.
He is being held on $250,000 bail.
Kiesle jumped a curb in his vehicle around 9 p.m. Saturday night while driving in the Rossmoor retirement community where the priest lives, fatally striking a resident walking home with his wife, according to a report from Rossmoor.com.
The victim was identified as Rossmoor resident Curtis Gunn, according to the report, which also states his wife was treated for minor injuries at the hospital.
Beyond Kiesle's criminal history, the priest has been named in dozens of lawsuits accusing him of sexually abusing minors, including several new lawsuits in recent years.
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"We have been informed that the notorious former Catholic priest, Steven Kiesle, an accused serial molester has been accused of destroying yet another innocent life," said Joey Piscitelli, a Northern California leader for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP). "Our hearts go out to the victim and his family. This time Kiesle was arrested and accused and booked for vehicular manslaughter, while driving intoxicated. It's tragic that this man was allowed to live a comfortable life in Rossmoor, while his victims have suffered for decades."
Internal church documents show church officials knew about the accusations against Kiesle for years but failed to act, likely leading to the abuse of more children.
Even after being arrested and convicted for tying up and molesting two boys in 1978, the church allowed Kiesle to continue working. He was not defrocked until 1987.
Even then, a 1988 letter shows staff were furious that Kiesle was brought on as a youth ministry coordinator at St. Joseph Church in Pinole.
Tim Stier, a retired priest who has made it his mission to shine a light on the church's mishandling of sex abuse of children by clergy, also lives in Rossmoor and said he is angry.
"He continues to destroy lives and he has no business being able to do that," Stier said of Kiesle. "In my opinion, he should've been put in jail for life given all the accusations against him."