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May 3rd, 2010
05:19 PM ET

Reporter's Notebook: "Why did the Pope hesitate?"

Gary Tuchman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Ismael Estrada
AC360° Producer

Program Note: Watch Gary's full report tonight on AC360° at 10 p.m. ET.

Gary Tuchman and I were in the Bay Area last week wanting to speak with Stephen Kiesle. Kiesle is a former priest, but also a convicted sex offender. He was accused of molesting children while studying to be a priest in the 1970's. He pleaded no contest to some of those charges, but also said he no longer wanted to be a priest. His bishop at the time agreed. Kiesle should not be associated with the Catholic Church.

The problem? Someone in the Vatican disagreed. Despite the fact that Kiesle already admitted to the charges and petitioned to be de-frocked with full support from the bishop, one man said no.

That man was Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, a top Vatican official. The same man who is now Pope Benedict the XVI. After years of back and forth, Ratzinger said more information was needed because of Kiesle¹s young age. In a letter signed by Ratzinger, he wrote "the good of the universal church" needed to be taken into consideration.

Kiesle lives in a private community just north of San Francisco. An invitation is needed to get in and see anyone inside. Because of that he's been shielded from the media. We spoke with people who say they were molested by Kiesle and are frustrated and angry that the church didn't remove him quickly after he admitted to his crimes.

We were invited into the private, gated community by one of the residents. We pulled around and saw Kiesle getting into his car. Gary wanted to ask him if he was sorry for molesting children and wanted to know how he felt about the long delay in his removal from the priesthood.

Watch our story tonight at 10pm on Anderson Cooper 360.

soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Jo Ann, North Royalton, Ohio

    Gary and Ismael, Thanks for continuing to investigate the claims that the Pope "protected" pedophile priests. It makes me wonder how many more are out there.

    Maybe these types of investigative reports will encourage more changes in the church and force it to come clean. Keep up the great work!

    May 3, 2010 at 3:53 pm |
  2. The chief

    Way to go Anderson .... expose the truth .... Thanks.... there are many who will thank you

    May 3, 2010 at 3:23 pm |