Gray accused of stealing from church to pay for male escorts
BY JONATHAN SHUGARTS | REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN
WATERBURY — To many of his supporters, the Rev. Kevin Gray is a humble servant of God who helped those in need, sacrificed for his flock and preached the Gospel at Sacred Heart Church in sermons described as soul-touching.
But police say a months-long criminal investigation has revealed the 64-year-old Gray was leading an extravagant double life that his parishioners never knew about.
That secret life included male escorts hired in New York, $200,000 in restaurant bills — including dinners at Tavern on the Green — and hotel stays in the lap of Manhattan luxury, expenses amassed by Gray and paid for with the church's money, police say.
Detectives say they discovered Gray, a well-respected Catholic priest and former leader of several city parishes, siphoned roughly $1.3 million from Sacred Heart to pay for a lavish lifestyle usually reserved for the wealthy.
Gray is expected to surrender to police today on a felony charge of first-degree larceny, a crime that could lead to 20 years in prison. Police say for the past seven years he cut checks from the church bank account to pay for designer clothes by Armani and overnight stays at Madison Avenue hotels, among a list of other expenses.
Although police believe Gray told his congregation he was battling cancer, detectives have determined Gray has never had cancer.
"I think that's how he explained his absence from the parish," said Capt. Christopher Corbett, a police spokesman.
Police have investigated Gray since May, when the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Hartford came across financial "discrepancies" during an internal investigation. Archdiocese officials presented their findings to police, who say they've confirmed Gray embezzled the funds.
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