NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- The Rev. Kevin J. Gray was a popular priest who appeared to live humbly, forgoing a car and walking to Mass from another parish where he lived so that a Catholic charity could use his space at the rectory. Parishioners thought he had cancer and admired how he helped immigrants in his largely poor parish in Connecticut.
But after a routine audit of the church's finances turned up discrepancies, authorities began a criminal investigation that they say unraveled a secret double life of male escorts, strip bars and lavish spending on the finest restaurants, luxury hotels and expensive clothing, financed with money stolen from the parish.
"About a million," Gray told authorities without hesitation when asked how much he took from the church account, according to his arrest affidavit.
Gray, former pastor at Sacred Heart/Sagrado Corazon Parish in Waterbury, was arrested and charged with first-degree larceny, accused of stealing $1.3 million over seven years from the church, police said. He was arraigned Tuesday in Waterbury Superior Court and was being held on $750,000 bond, court officials said.
"Up until this investigation he had an excellent reputation," police Capt. Christopher Corbett said. "The life he was leading in New York City was much different than the life he was leading in Waterbury as a priest. He's certainly an example of someone who was leading a double life."