Former Oakland County Priest Suspended Following Sex Abuse Allegations

By Mitch Hotts
Daily Tribune
October 30, 2011

A priest who formerly served several south Oakland County parishes has been suspended from his duties following allegations of past sexual abuse involving a minor, the Archdiocese of Detroit said today in a statement.

The Rev. Gary Schulte, the longtime pastor of St. Sylvester Church in Warren, was placed on administrative leave on Friday and is now restricted from any public ministry, according to the statement issued by Ned McGrath, director of communications for the archdiocese.

"An initial investigation found the complaint to be of sufficient substance to require restrictions on Fr. Schulte's service as a priest," McGrath said in the statement.

Schulte, 66, has served in parishes in several Oakland County communities including Beverly Hills, Clawson, Madison Heights and Royal Oak, according to the archdiocese.

Parishioners at St. Sylvester, located in the area of 12 Mile and Hoover roads, learned of the suspension at Sunday services.

According to the archdiocese, an allegation of sexual misconduct involving a person under the age of 18 was filed in September with the archdiocese's victim assistance counselor. The report dated back to the "early years" of Schulte's ministry in the Detroit archdiocese.

The details of the complaint were not provided.

The complaint was then reported to civil authorities and considered by the chair of the Archdiocesan Review Board and the archbishop's lead advisers.

Contacted at home on Sunday, Warren Police Commissioner Jere Green said he could not recall a report being made to the Warren Police Department on the incident, but he could not be certain without checking police reports.

After archdiocese officials investigated the claim, they determined there was enough validity to implement restrictions on Schulte's priestly services such as to ban him from publicly celebrating Mass or sacraments. Schulte is not allowed to publicly present himself as a priest.

Schulte, 66, has served as pastor at St. Sylvester for the past 17 years.

The Rev. Thomas Sutherland, a senior retired priest, will serve as temporary administrator for St. Sylvester Parish.

Schulte was educated at University of Detroit, St. John Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, and Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, according to the news release.

Ordained in 1972 as a priest, he served as an associate pastor at Guardian Angels Parish in Clawson in 1972 and Our Lady Queen of Martyrs Parish in Beverly Hills the following year. In 1980, he was named associate pastor at National Shrine of the Little Flower Parish in Royal Oak before becoming pastor of St. Vincent Ferrer Parish in Madison Heights in 1983. He became pastor at St. Sylvester in 1984 and also served as chaplain at Macomb Community College in Warren.

He was selected by the Interfaith Center for Racial Justice to give the closing prayer at the 10th anniversary of 9/11 at Warren Civic Center this past September.

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