Inside the Life of the Million-Dollar Priest & His Boy Toy

By Yvonne Nava and Juan De Jesus
|  Friday, Jul 9, 2010  |  Updated 6:08 PM EDT
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New details emerge on the secret life of a Waterbury priest.

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The man who cops say shared an Upper East Side apartment with a Roman Catholic priest accused of stealing a million dollars to pay for their love nest has vanished.

On Wednesday when the Waterbury Republican-American  went to visit the small York Avenue apartment that Roman Catholic priest Kevin J. Gray shared with Weirui Zhong, 35, the reporter was met with the sound of paint rollers smacking against trays. 

Gray, 64, of Sacred Heart Church, was charged on June 30 with first-degree larceny, accused of pocketing more than $1 million from Sacred Heart Church.

The priest used the money to live a dual life, that spanned three states, authorities say. By day, Gray gave sermons, by night, the Republican-American reports, Gray’ world was filled with male escorts, drag queens and outings to gay bars.

Zhong first met Gray in Central Park in 2005, according to court records. For five years, Gray paid the $2,000 a month rent for the apartment at 1427 York Ave, according to cops. The $,2000 bought the man a small bedroom in a decent neighborhood.  Zhong lived  with Gray, who he thought to be an attorney,  while Gray shuttled back and forth from Connecticut, New York and Boston, police said. 

Gray also purchased a piano for the apartment and paid for Zhong to take lessons. He also helped fund his roommate's education at Harvard University and supplemented the tuition with Health insurance, according to authorities.  Gray also purchased dogs and paid for their veterinary bills.

But that isn't the only thing that the Gray did in the big city. He often frequented some of the city's finest eatery's  like Arturo's, Solera Restaurant, and Tavern on the Green.

Before Gray began renting the apartment and at certain times afterwards, he also laid his head to rest at the Roosevelt Hotel, the W at Times Square, and the Waldorf Astoria, ,according to court documents. It was during these stays that police say Gray also purchased the services of male escorts

Police were interviewing Zhong when, Gray arrived. A confrontation ensued in which Gray confessed  to living a double life.

After his arrest, the Archdiocese of Hartford has suspended Gray from his duties as a priest and another clergy member has taken his place at Sacred Heart. Gray was charged July 6, 2010 with stealing $1.3 million in church money over seven years.Gray is due in Waterbury Superior Court later this month.

The reporters from the Republican-American learned that Zhong moved out last week and painters were prepping the small apartment for a new tenant who will be moving in.

Only a few items were left behind which include reproduction of part of Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel, stuck to the ceiling of the living room, and a poster that seems to be the Virgin Mary, according to the Republican-American.

The piano and dogs Gray purchased were missing.

Painters told the Republican-American that they had no indication that a priest had lived there or that he had been arrested.

“That’s crazy,” one of the men told the newspaper.

 You can read the court documents here. 

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