Settlement helping victim of Colorado Catholic priest abuse start a new life

Category: Catholic Sexual Abuse

A state-led investigation into child sexual abuse by Catholic priests in Colorado in 2019 discovered 52 priests were responsible for sexually assaulting 212 children between the 1950s and 1999.

Now, one of the victims is telling a story of healing after he reached a settlement with the church.

“I never thought I would come out of the darkness,” said Troy Gallegos, a Denver man who kept his story a secret for more than four decades. “I’m still trying to climb out of there.”

Gallegos was a lead altar boy at Saint Francis De Sales Catholic Church in Denver. He said he kept the secret out of fear and out of respect for his mother’s visible position with the Denver Archdiocese.

“I used to hate to go to school because it was right next to the church,” Gallegos said. “I was always nervous because the monsignor was always wanting me and wanting me in the back. I always got scorned and abused sexually in sexual ways as well.”

Gallegos is part of a list of nearly 100 victims who came forward during the state’s inquiry into the church. He accused Monsignor Gregory Smith of molesting him as a child when he served as an altar boy at Saint Francis De Sales. Gallegos talked about his decision to keep his story a secret for more than 40 years.

“That was hard for me to speak about, you know? But I am in a place right now where I know it wasn’t my fault.” Gallegos said. “I’ve been carrying it for many years, that it wasn’t my fault for what happened to me.”

Gallegos’ boyhood trauma took its toll as an adult. He said the trail of trauma included a life of drugs, lost jobs and broken marriages.

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