Priest used money for male escorts, hotels

WATERBURY — Connecticut made headlines this week when news broke that Rev. Kevin J. Gray, 64, embezzled $1.3 million from Sacred Heart Parish over a seven year period so he could live another life in New York City.

He was charged with first degree larceny after he turned himself in on Tuesday morning and was arraigned in Waterbury Superior Court. Bail was set at $750,000.

According to police, Gray used the stolen money to buy clothing, expensive meals, stay in ritzy hotels and to hire male escorts. According to an arrest warrent, Gray grew to hate being a priest because the Archdiocese of Hartford, gave him the, “worst church assignments” where he would “have to fix problems made by the previous priests.”

Waterbury police began investigating Gray in late May after the archdiocese discovered unauthorized payments from church funds to accounts managed by Gray.

According to the Hartford Courant, Gray told police that he is gay and has a problem with the church’s stance on homosexuality.

Gray said he started taking money once he was transferred to Sacred Heart in 2003, “because he felt the church owed it to him,” the affidavit states. Gray wrote checks to himself, paid off his American Express bills, allowed two men to have credit cards in their names on his account and paid for various other expenses — including tuition to Harvard and rent in New York City for a man he met in Central Park — using the church’s Webster Bank account, the document states.

He has been on medical leave since April 15 and before leaving told his parishioners that he was gravely ill. Detectives, however, have determined that Gray was lying about his illness.

The Archdiocese has not yet released a statement about Tuesday’s hearing.

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