by mr dan
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Good morning, it’s time for another Catholic scandal.
Perhaps you’ve heard by now of the Reverend Kevin J. Gray, the priest from Waterbury, CT, who has been charged with first-degree grand larceny after allegedly stealing $1.3 million from the Catholic Church. The unusual story captured the internet’s attention for about three minutes. As with most priests, it had always been assumed that Gray was a humble, kind and charitable man who couldn’t possibly have absconded with over a million dollars which he used to dine in fancy restaurants and stay in extravagant hotels with male prostitutes. That is, of course, until it was revealed that that’s exactly what he’d been doing.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: isn’t embezzling funds and soliciting male prostitutes really more of a Protestant crime?
What strikes me as interesting about this is not that a priest was caught stealing money, or that he was caught sleeping with prostitutes, or even that he was caught sleeping with adults. No, what really captures my fascination is that it was the Hartford Archdiocese that turned him in. They asked the police to investigate Rev. Gray after they noticed bookkeeping discrepancies.
The Hartford Archdiocese has been implicated in numerous scandals involving child sexual abuse by members of its clergy as well as by a doctor in one of its hospitals. In all cases it has been clearly shown that the church did all it could to hush the allegations, sometimes transferring priests to other parishes, or simply dismissing the allegations without investigation. And they recently succeeded in blocking House Bill 5473, legislation that would have removed the statute of limitations on sexual abuse cases, because, they argued, it would be too much of a financial burden to defend themselves against such ancient allegations.
Throughout every scandal the Catholics have tried to subvert the authorities at every turn. But when someone is stealing money from them, that’s when its time to call the police. It seems that if you’re a Catholic, it’s okay to get caught with your hand anywhere it shouldn’t be — except for the collection plate.
According to the Associated Press,
Gray, 64, used the money to stay at such hotels as the Waldorf-Astoria, New York Palace Hotel and Copley Square in Boston, and on expensive clothing labels including Armani, Saks 5th Avenue and Brooks Brothers, police said. He dined at Tavern on the Green and Arturo’s restaurants in New York, Union League Cafe in New Haven and Abe & Louie’s Restaurant in Boston.
One man Gray met in New York’s Central Park told police that Gray paid for him to attend Harvard University, bought a piano and dogs, and paid for his piano lessons and veterinarian bills.
The New York Daily News adds:
He opened credit card accounts for two men he had met – one at a male strip club and another through a male escort service, according to court papers.
One of them racked up $67,000 in charges – including $5,410 for tuition at LaGuardia Community College in Queens. The other charged almost $50,000 to the card, including Louis Vuitton merchandise and $9,000 in Crunch gym fees.
Gray also claimed to have cancer, which not only garnered him sympathy but served as the perfect cover for his frequent trips to New York City. He may have been seeking treatment there, but I don’t think male prostitutes count as doctors, even if they dress up like one.
So even though Gray is exactly the sort of man that our culture condemns as a white-collar criminal, whose misconduct is an affront to blue-collar working folk everywhere, he’s not the one who receives the bulk of my ire in this situation. I have no interest in defending him or his crimes, but I’d rather live next to him than George Reardon or Edward Pipala or Thomas Glynn or William Przybylo, or any of the other church members who have been accused of the dastardly and unforgivable crime of child sexual abuse. It seems Rev. Gray’s biggest mistake was thinking that the organization best known for sheltering society’s sickest individuals would extend its compassion to a common crook, and forgetting that as Catholics, they’ve probably never read that bit about not casting the first stone.
mr dan is vice president of CVA. he views expressed in this post are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of Connecticut Valley Atheists or its individual members.