Catholic Priest Suspended Following Abuse Charges
By Bill Gallagher
January 5, 2012
Chris Trombley says he was an emotionally troubled teen who struggled with his sexuality and the beginnings of alcohol abuse.
At 16, his parents urged him to see Father Gary Schulte for counseling. At the time, Schulte was the pastor of St. Vincent Ferrer Parrish in Madison Heights. That was in 1991.
"I had no friends. I didn't want to be around my father," Trombley told Fox 2's Bill Gallagher in an exclusive interview. "I didn't want to be around my mother, and he took the role of friend only for one reason, you know. And that was sexual favors."
Trombley says Schulte took advantage of a vulnerable teen.
"I believe he just saw me coming a million miles away. The very first night started with a beer and back rub...several beers," he said.
The sexual abuse allegedly went on for years, Trombley says, during which time he was allowed to drink, smoke and basically do whatever he wanted when he was with Schulte. He also says he was given gifts, including cash.
Schulte eventually transferred to St. Sylvestor's Parrish in Warren.
The archdiocese received Chris' allegations last September. A church panel found sufficient evidence to suspend Schulte from the parrish, and active ministry.
A church investigation is still underway. The allegations were forwarded to the Oakland County Prosecutor's office, but no charges were filed because the statute of limitations had run out.
Chris says there is something very unfair about that. It took him ten years to finally tell his twin brother about what happened when he was a teen, but by then it was already too late for criminal charges.
Many experts agree coming to grips with abuse is a long and difficult process.
"I don't understand why there's a statute," said Chris' wife Beth. "Gary is a sex offender and he doesn't have to be on a sex offender's list. He can live freely like that."
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