LGBT Advocates Cast a Pall on the Phoenix PD and the Valley's Gay Community

Chris Wilson sits quietly in a small, gray room. He's slouched forward, his forearms resting on his lap, his wrists handcuffed.

It's August 7, 2012, almost 9 p.m.

Wilson is tense, antsy.

Brian Stauffer
Former Phoenix police Detective Chris Wilson
Former Phoenix police Detective Chris Wilson

A Phoenix police detective walks in, greets him, and explains that he has been accused of engaging in sexual contact with minors — two teens, one 17, the other 14.

Wilson nods.

The detective reads Wilson his rights, telling him he can remain silent or have an attorney present, and asks if he understands.

"Yes, I do," Wilson says.

"I know you didn't force these kids to do anything. I just wanna understand why it happened," the officer says to Wilson.

Wilson, 43 at the time, tells the interrogator a lot of flirting and sexual banter went on the afternoon in July when he picked up the two teenage boys from an apartment complex and took them to lunch at a Chili's in West Phoenix. Before driving them in his truck to the eatery, he says, the younger boy grabbed him and kept telling him he was "hot."

The detective says, "From what I understand now, it wasn't your intention . . . I think you were suckered into it by how he started stuff."

Wilson, dejected, says it doesn't matter: "Either way, it was my fault, man. It was all mutual. I should've known better. I was a fool."

Later, when he's asked whether he'd committed a crime, Wilson says: "I made a bad decision."


Chris Wilson knew all too well that his predicament appeared bleak. He'd been a cop for nearly two decades.

Before his interrogation began, when he was alone in the room, Wilson was caught on camera saying: "Fuck, I should've done it."

The investigator later wrote in his report, "It is unknown what this comment meant," intimating that Wilson may have been suicidal. "At the time Wilson was taken into custody, he was armed with a black handgun."

The Phoenix Police Department hired Wilson in August 1996. He worked his way up to detective, was assigned to the Community Relations Bureau, and served as a liaison to the gay community. He resigned shortly after his arrest.

Openly gay, Wilson was a prominent figure in a politically charged job and, according to coworkers, often bragged about his relationships with high-profile officials.

He worked out in the morning at a gym with then-Phoenix Councilman Tom Simplot. He was close friends with Jim Bloom, chief of staff for Maricopa County Supervisor Andy Kunasek. And Sergeant Mark Schweikert, Wilson's supervisor, was wary of Wilson's personal relationship with then-Assistant Phoenix Police Chief Tracy Montgomery. Schweikert believed that Montgomery, also openly gay, protected Wilson, making him "untouchable."

But nobody could help Wilson as he sat in the interrogation room.

Wilson has been isolated in a cell since his arrest — the crimes he's accused of committing make him ineligible for bond. His former job and the nature of his charges make him a target for violence in jail.

His trial is scheduled for next month, but it probably will be delayed, as it has been before.

Wilson admitted to the older victim, in a phone conversation recorded by police, that his actions would contribute to negative perceptions about the police department and the gay community.

As a liaison to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens, Wilson attended various LGBT functions: dinners, galas, movie premières, parades, and fundraisers.

It was at one of these events that he met Caleb Laieski, a teenager who says he grew up in a West Valley home with a drug-addicted and alcoholic mother. He says he dropped out of high school to escape unrelenting bullying for being gay.

Laieski told police that bullies pulled down his pants in public almost every day. He said students veered their cars toward him as he walked to or from school.

Neither Laieski nor Wilson could tell police exactly when or where they first met — perhaps at a protest or an event at an art museum. But their professional relationship grew in 2012 when Laieski, at 17, was appointed to work in Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton's office as a teen advocate for LGBT youth.

In turn, it was through Laieski's personal anti-bullying advocacy work that he met the young man who police say later became Wilson's second victim (who'll be called "Joey" in this story). And as investigators questioned the teens about their sexual encounters with the former detective, they learned that Laieski and Joey also had been sexual partners.

In Arizona, any sex act with a child younger than 15 is punished more severely.

Laieski was slapped with the same charges as Wilson — sexual conduct with a minor. But unlike Wilson, Laieski was released without bond as his case proceeds in Maricopa County Superior Court.

It's a point, Wilson's attorney says, that demonstrates the former cop has been treated unfairly.

"If [Laieski] can be out of custody when he faces more serious charges than Mr. Wilson [Laieski faces more counts], then Mr. Wilson is also entitled to be released," wrote Robert Campos in a November 2013 court document requesting a bond hearing for Wilson. "The law applies equally to all. Either both are non-bondable or both must be released."

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11 comments
WhiskeyandPills
WhiskeyandPills

Wilson is one sick mother.  Who's novel idea was it to put a gay man as a LGBT liaison detective in Phoenix PD ??   Nah, there won't be any problems with that...........   Idiots.

WhiskeyandPills
WhiskeyandPills

Damn, so basically we have a bunch of homo's running Phoenix P.D.  ???  Unbelievable.

pat029
pat029

This not as cut a dryed as itmy seem yes he should have acted better with his job but sometimes s--t happen and with young girls all made up it's hard to tell how old they are and with guys it's the same thing but the screwed and his job and further is over . How did he caught did they rat him out and you have to ask why . His lifes over.

Cory114
Cory114

The cop was in the wrong and should be convicted, but do not punish two teenage boys for sleeping together...We would all be in jail, I was 17 in High school and my girlfriend was 15.  Most states have a stipulation in the law that allows for teens to be within 3 to 4 years of each other in age. The Cop was horrible, he groomed these boys for sex.

Taintthatbad
Taintthatbad

Bottom line...you go after the underaged kids you should be slammed.  The only thing I care about in this story

Nugget_Pouch
Nugget_Pouch

Whoa. 1950 called and wants their bigotry back

Nugget_Pouch
Nugget_Pouch

So you are feeling sorry for someone who is supposed to uphold the law and is a pedophile? Did you read the entire article? They found texts and emails in his phone describing fantasies about little boys. You are sick

 
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