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Sex With Minors: Supervisor of Detective Accused of Sexually Assaulting Two Teenage Boys Claims Top City Officials Protected the Cop

Phoenix police Sergeant Mark Schweikert, supervisor of a now-former Phoenix police detective accused of having sex with two teenage boys, claims that two city officials meddled in his efforts to deal with the detective's work problems.

In the 22-page memo, first obtained by CBS 5 reporter Donna Rossi, Schweikert alleges that Phoenix Councilman Tom Simplot and Assistant Police Chief Tracy Montgomery, both openly gay, interfered in his dealings with that ex-cop: Chris Wilson.

Schweikert reveals that he was "concerned" about Wilson's emotional state and knew that "Wilson [was] up to something" in the weeks leading up to his arrest.

Phoenix Police Department spokesman Trent Crump says department officials, including Montgomery, aren't commenting on the matter because it's under review.

However, Simplot's office provided New Times a copy of a memo written by Phoenix Police Chief Daniel Garcia on November 28 to City Manager David Cavazos to "address the question of Councilman Simplot's alleged involvement in influencing Sergeant Mark Schweikert's actions in the supervision of former Detective Chris Wilson."

Garcia writes that he has "no information that would support the allegation, and I am not aware of any involvement by Councilman Simplot in attempting to influence Sergeant Mark Schweikert in supervising the police duties of former Detective Chris Wilson."

Police arrested Wilson, 43, on August 7 in connection with the alleged sexual assaults of a 14-year-old and a 17-year-old. Wilson served on the police department's Community Response Squad as outreach officer to the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Schweikert says Wilson "would make his close relationship with Councilman Simplot known" and "would brag about being Councilman Simplot's workout partner."

Schweikert writes, "Mr. Wilson advised me on several occasions that he was invited to attend formal events with Councilman Simplot."

Simplot tells New Times that he has not read the memo but that he has never intervened in matters involving city employees.

The matter is under investigation by the city's Equal Opportunity Department, where Schweikert filed a formal complaint in late September over officials' allegedly creating a hostile work environment for him with their interference.

Schweikert apparently had complained to the EOD before September about Montgomery "interfering" with the management of his squad, but it went ignored, he says.

"As time passed, no one ever followed up on my complaint," Schweikert writes. "I felt my complaint was dismissed in a passive-aggressive manner."

Schweikert's claims are explosive because Wilson met the boys he is accused of sexually assaulting through his positions as a liaison officer. And there were complaints about Wilson from the community, according to Schweikert -- including that Wilson didn't communicate well with the community, was not connecting with gay churches or businesses, was arrogant, was unapproachable, and was "an asshole."

But Schweikert says he didn't feel -- given Wilson's political connections -- that he could act on those complaints or take any action against Wilson.

It's only speculation whether Wilson would have remained in his post and engaged in the alleged subsequent sexual assaults if Schweikert had addressed the problems with Wilson.

Wilson would "infer that his attendance at various LGBT functions was mandated by [Simplot] and would require the payment of overtime," Schweikert writes.

 

Simplot says Wilson clearly was "not the person any of us thought he was. He is a confessed pedophile. He manipulated the community. He manipulated the police department. He manipulated City Hall. I don't know what he said or didn't say, and I have to believe that Officer Wilson was manipulating his boss like he manipulated everybody else."

Simplot acknowledges that he and Wilson worked out at the same gym. He says Wilson's role as liaison officer required him to attend LGBT community events.

"That's his job description," Simplot explains, adding that Wilson apparently would take "a kernel of fact and blow it up into something much more than it ever was."

When issues arose involving Wilson, Schweikert claims, any actions he took were given special scrutiny by Montgomery. Schweikert also says his superiors would advise him "not to make an issue of it" and let them "do what they wanted to do."

In his memo, Schweikert recalls one instance in which Wilson was investigating a complaint of misconduct against another police officer. Schweikert was planning to forward the complaint to the police department's Professional Standards Bureau, which investigates such complaints, when, he claims, Montgomery told him to put things on hold.

Schweikert agreed, and told Wilson to cease his investigation based on Montgomery's order.

Schweikert says he was later called into Montgomery's office and accused "of disobeying her directives." He says she was "angry and proceeded to berate me."

Montgomery had given a different order to Wilson regarding the investigation of this police officer, Schweikert says, and she "advised me that I had no right to order Mr. Wilson to stop his investigation."

Schweikert says he tried to explain that he was only doing what she asked. He says "she slowed her speech to ... indicate I was slow to understand."

He writes that Montgomery said to him: "Mark, I'm going to be direct with you. You may not know this but each chief is assigned to an advisory group. Chris [Wilson] answers to me. You are working in a very political position. Your performance has been fine. We are not at that point of having you removed."

He says he took those comments as a veiled threat against his job.

He told one police commander about "how difficult it was ... to supervise Mr. Wilson" and that "Wilson would report directly" to Simplot or Montgomery.

Schweikert also says he has an e-mail that "clearly states [Montgomery] was communicating directly to Mr. Wilson instead of communicating concerns via the chain of command."

When Wilson was "hostile toward a fellow teammate," Schweikert says, he brought Wilson into his office and told him "his behavior ... was inappropriate" and documented the incident in Wilson's file.

 

"During this time period, Assistant Chief Montgomery was questioning my team's tactics on a regular basis, and she seemed extra critical of my work since I had coached Mr. Wilson" about his behavior toward a fellow cop, Schweikert writes.

Schweikert says during the Pride Festival, Wilson "went against .. team protocol" and used "false pretenses" to get a fully-marked police car, with its lights flashing, into the festival's parade.

"We did not have a need for the vehicle," Schweikert writes, adding that his lieutenant told him "not to make and issue of it and let Mr. Wilson" do what he wanted to do.

Schweikert continues: "Mr. Wilson...failed to consult me" and was "untouchable because of the protection granted...by Assistant Chief Montgomery."

Schweikert says that when he attempted to address some of Wilson's performance issues, Wilson arranged for the two of them to meet with Megan Schmitz, Simplot's chief of staff.

Schmitz is also the chair of the board of directors for 1 n 10 Youth Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to building self-esteem and acceptance among LGBT youth, including those questioning their sexual orientation or gender identity.

While the three were in the meeting room, Schweikert says Schmitz told him that Simplot also wanted to attend the meeting.

"Ms. Schmitz focused the conversation on how great Mr. Wilson has been to her and Councilman Simplot. The accolades for Mr. Wilson, in my opinion, were in response to counter the negative feedback Mr. Wilson had received" from members of the LGBT community.

During the conversation, Schweikert says, Simplot walked into the room "thanked me for allowing Mr. Wilson to work with him, and he noted what a great job Mr. Wilson was doing" before leaving the room.

"I felt that Councilman Simplot was using his position to influence me not to take supervisory action toward Mr. Wilson and discount any negative feedback [about Wilson] from various community members," Schweikert writes in his memo. "I felt that Councilman Simplot was trying to intimidate me.

Simplot says he pops into meetings all the time and that occasion was no different -- he says he just made a few remarks and left.

"Clearly, Wilson is a master at manipulation," Simplot says.

Schweikert's memo also details noticeable changes in Wilson's behavior in the weeks before his arrest.

"I had observed that he had been distant at work, and he did not seem happy," Schweikert writes. "I was concerned about Mr. Wilson, but I did not have enough to articulate a request for a Work Fitness Evaluation...I felt that he could lose his temper at any moment."

In his memo, Schweikert also notes at least one occasion where Wilson took one of his now-alleged victims to the dentist.

"I did not think what Mr. Wilson was doing [was] appropriate, but it was not a violation of policy," he writes. "I did not question what Mr. Wilson did with his personal time."


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