Pope Watch

Woman Describes Priest Abuse

“He told me the devil was inside me,” says Melinda Costello, the woman who was abused as a girl by the Oakland priest whom Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger resisted punishing. Now 48 and on disability because of arthritis, Costello says Rev. Stephen Kiesle touched her chest and genitals when she was seven; Kiesle was also convicted in 1978 of tying up and molesting two boys, but he was not defrocked until 1987—and was sentenced to prison in 2004 for another sex crime he carried out in 1995. The pope has found himself at the center of this scandal as his signature is on a 1985 letter saying he needs more time to consider defrocking Kiesle, since he must consider the “good of the universal church.”