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Popular ex-pastor charged with stealing from parish

Arrest warrant says money went to lavish lifestyle, gay lovers 

WATERBURY — A web of lies, one intersecting another, and at the center, the Rev. Kevin Gray, bitter, disillusioned and upset at the Catholic Church's policies on homosexuals.

Gray, a Catholic priest, lied about having colon cancer and about being an attorney. He lied about working for Catholic Charities in New Haven. When confronted by a man he was dating, he even lied about being a priest.

That's according to an arrest warrant released Tuesday, detailing why police charged the 64-year-old former pastor of Sacred Heart Church with first-degree larceny. Police say Gray burned through more than $1 million in church funds.

Court documents also reveal a secret deal police say Gray arranged with a cell phone provider that allowed a California company to lease space in Sacred Heart's steeple. That deal, which netted Gray $200,000, was kept secret from the Archdiocese of Hartford, according to Gray's warrant and police.

Despite Tuesday's heat, Gray's supporters came out in force to his arraignment in Waterbury Superior Court, saying they'll support him and claiming he's "100 percent innocent."

In a 14-page arrest warrant, Detective Peter Morgan detailed the paper trail he followed that showed Gray bilked the largely Hispanic parish out of $1.3 million since 2003.

While he sat in an Upper East Side apartment last month, Gray explained to Morgan his bitterness at the church leadership and his unhappiness about the decision by the Archdiocese of Hartford to assign him to a church in New Hartford when his mother was dying in New Haven in 2001.

"Mr. Gray stated that when he started at Sacred Heart Church in 2003, he began taking money because he felt the church owed it to him," Gray told police, according to his arrest warrant. "Mr. Gray stated that he is gay and does have a problem with the church's position on homosexuality."

The archdiocese discovered financial discrepancies during a routine inspection and contacted police in May.