Authorities dig at defrocked priest’s Donner home |

Authorities dig at defrocked priest’s Donner home

Photo by Erich Sommer/Sierra SunFederal and California authorities joined the Truckee Police Department on Tuesday and Wednesday to search the front and back yard of Stephen Kiesle's Sun Valley Drive home.

The growing web of alleged molestations by Catholic priests is now reported to include several victims that lived in Truckee.

The investigation of former Catholic priest Stephen Kiesle, 55, by the Fremont and Pinole police departments began over a month ago and has since uncovered information that Kiesle may have molested as many as three victims while at his vacation home on Sun Valley Road between 1994 and 1995.

Truckee Police Cmdr. Scott Berry said charges have not yet been filed in the Truckee cases, but that he does expect formal charges shortly. Berry declined to give a timeframe.

Kiesle is a former seminarian and priest at Freemont’s Santa Paula Catholic Church.

On Tuesday, Truckee police assisted officers from Freemont in serving a search warrant of the Tahoe Donner residence when cadaver dogs “hit on something,” in the yard, Berry said.

That led officers to request a second search warrant.

Berry said police wanted to rule out any possibility that Kiesle was in any way connected with the unsolved disappearances of several young girls from the Bay Area in the 1990s.

“There is no direct line between [Kiesle] and those cases,” Berry said. “We just want to conduct a thorough investigation.”

By Wednesday officials from the FBI, the California Department of Justice, El Dorado County Sheriff’s Office and Pinole Police Department had joined the investigation and were digging in the front and back yards of Kiesle’s Tahoe Donner home at 11515 Sun Valley Road.

Kiesle was arrested on May 16 after a month long investigation by the Fremont Police Department. He was taken into custody at his home in Pinole, California on three counts of child molestation and booked into Freemont City Jail. Kiesle is currently free on a $180,000 bond.

On May 20, the San Jose Mercury News reported that two additional charges had been filed, and that police were investigating reports that Kiesle had sexually abused 10 other victims decades ago.

Kiesle has spent over 20 years as a computer consultant for Chevron Texaco in San Ramon.

A Sun Valley Road neighbor declined to comment, saying only that Kiesle was an infrequent visitor, coming up two or three times a year.

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