SNAP asks Contra Costa County DA to keep former priest Stephen Kiesle behind bars in the interest of public safety
(FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE APRIL 28, 2022)
Today SNAP sent the following letter to District Attorney Diana Becton regarding Case Number 01-22-00212, State v. Kiesle. We asked that the DA's office work very hard to keep Mr. Kiesle behind bars, for the safety of the public.
April 28, 2022
SNAP, Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
PO Box 16376
Chicago, IL 60616
The Honorable Diana Becton
District Attorney of Contra Costa County
900 Ward St
Martinez, CA 94553
Re: Case Number 01-22-00212, State v. Kiesle
Dear Ms. Becton:
We are local representatives of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests. Some of us attended the arraignment of the former Catholic priest Stephen Miller Kiesle last week. At the time, we heard Mr. Kiesle’s attorney say that his bail should be reduced because he is “not dangerous” and that a restraining order requested to benefit the widow of Curtis Gunn was unnecessary because Mr. Kiesle is not “a threat.”
We believe Mr. Kiesle is both dangerous and a threat, as well as a flight risk. In addition to the criminal charges referenced above, he is currently named in about fifteen civil lawsuits that target his former employer, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Oakland, for abuse that Mr. Kiesle perpetrated as a priest, as a deacon, as a seminarian, or as a volunteer. Mr. Kiesle is also being sued in at least one case for the wrongful death of one of his child abuse victims. With so much going against him, Mr. Kiesle really has nothing to lose, and could flee not just from the criminal prosecution, but also from all the civil cases that surely will require him to appear.
The opportunity for Mr. Kiesle to be free pending his criminal trial, comes with the risk that he could again drink and drive. Moreover, as a registered sex offender with two convictions for child sexual abuse, boys and girls are also at risk when Mr. Kiesle is free. We believe that as a man with really nothing left to lose, the harm he could do to innocent lives if free cannot be ignored.
We beg your office to use every tool at its disposal to keep Mr. Kiesle behind bars. If he must be released, we request that his passport be handed in, that he wears an ankle monitor, and that he be kept on home detention.
SNAP Survivor Support Coordinator
SNAP Northwest Leader
CONTACT: The above names would be best to provide comments to the media –
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)