JAIL MY WIFE . . . PLEASE
I looked into the eyes of Darwin Schultz and immediately understood that he was going to do all the talking.
I could sense the terrible tension gripping Schultz as he leaned forward from his corner booth seat at the French Corner restaurant the other day.
Something held him back. Schultz wasn't sure it was safe to proceed with his story.
"God, I hope you don't tear me up," Schultz said. "Please don't crucify me. Everybody thinks I'm awful for trying to get my wife put in jail for adultery. But the way I look at it, I'm breaking new ground for all the husbands of this state.
"Look, I caught her cheating on me, and there's a law on the books about that. I want the Tempe police and the Tempe city prosecutor to act on it. And I'm going to keep fighting until I get them to act."
Schultz is five feet five inches tall and 48 years old. He worked long hours all during the Eighties to make a handsome living in various real estate deals. That kind of thing is over now. For men in Schultz's line of endeavor, these have become tough financial times.
All through the heady days of Reaganomics, the cornerstone of Schultz's life was his marriage to a beautiful woman named Gayle, who in 1978 was even picked as Mrs. Arizona.
Life was fine. They had two children. A nice house. Shiny cars. Schultz was certain the road ahead would be smooth.
"I thought we had a great life," Schultz said. "I bought her a house in Paradise Valley and a red 450SL Mercedes. I took her to Hawaii, Acapulco, Mexico City, and the Bahamas.
"All right, maybe I was buying her love and never realized it. That's painful to face. But it was great having her at my side whenever we went places during those years. People always said she looked like Jane Fonda."
Schultz remembers vividly the moment his idyllic marriage came to a halt. In fact, it haunts him.
"One night, Gayle stayed out until about three o'clock," Schultz said. "I was waiting in the living room when I heard her pull into the garage. As soon as I saw the look on her face, I knew she'd been with another man."
There was a big argument. Gayle Shultz moved into an apartment. It was Schultz's twenty-year-old daughter who told him of the new man who was around the apartment all the time.
"What finally made me go to the police was when her boyfriend kicked my daughter out of the apartment," Schultz says.
He went first with his story to the Tempe police station. They sent him to Frank Daniels, the Tempe city prosecutor.
They refused to arrest Gayle Schultz.
"Is the law on the books?" Schultz asks. "Is it a crime for my wife to be sleeping with another man? Is it a crime for her to be sleeping with him in front of my daughter, who is a minor?"
"Did you ever think about dropping this whole thing?" I asked. "Did you ever think about getting on with your life?"
Schultz looked disappointed.
"That's what everybody keeps telling me," Schultz said. "But it isn't that easy. I love this woman. We were married twenty years. You can't just take a chunk of your life that big and forget about it."
"How many people have you told this story?" I asked. "Don't you have a tough time telling all the details?"
His vulnerability came to the surface. The anger dissipated.
"Right now, with you," he said, "I'm laying my entire life right on the line at the corner of Central and Camelback. I don't need more pain. I've had all I can stand.
"But I'm not going to stop my fight. I've been on talk shows. I talked to Ed Montini at the Republic. And I'm still trying to get on the really big TV talk shows, like Oprah Winfrey and Joan Rivers." This is what television has finally done to us. It has become such a part of our lives that we now believe Oprah Winfrey and Joan Rivers have the power to determine what's right and wrong.
Who knows? Maybe they do.
"I've called everybody. I had a long talk with Bob Corbin, the attorney general. He was sympathetic. So was Rick Romley, the county attorney. But they say they can't do anything because it's up to the Tempe prosecutor to file the case."
Schultz leaned forward.
"You know what it is? They don't want to open the floodgates. If they throw Gayle in jail, there will be a thousand husbands and wives right behind me trying to have the same thing done."
"Have you tried to make up with your wife?" I asked.
He shook his head. For what seemed a long time, Schultz was silent. Then he spoke.
"Yeah," he said. "We had one meeting. We were in a room with our lawyers. She looked me right in the eye and she said to me, `Darwin, it's over.' I knew then that she didn't want me anymore."
These words took Darwin Schultz' final burst of energy. Now he leaned back in his seat, emotionally spent.
"Let me know if there's anything you want to know," he said. "I'll be glad to help you any way I can."
But there were no more questions to ask.
How do you tell a man to quit when he's still in love?
"It was great having her at my side whenever we went places. People always said she looked like Jane Fonda."
"Is the law on the books? Is it a crime for my wife to be sleeping with another man?
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