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

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When Joey reached out to Caleb Laieski for help with the bullying he says he faced, Joey was 13 years old and already had come out as gay at school and to his family.

The two, who'd met online, eventually met in person and developed a friendship.

Laieski, 16 at the time, helped Joey write letters to his school about the bullying. Given Laieski's unstable home life, Joey's parents invited Laieski to stay with them. He lived there on and off for about year, sharing a room with Joey. The family took Laieski on vacations.

And they accompanied the young activist to Washington, where he met with about 200 lawmakers in 22 days, lobbying them to support a federal anti-bullying law. Laieski also met and was photographed with President Barack Obama at the White House during an LGBT Pride reception.

The teenager's notoriety led to one-n-ten, an organization that works with gay youth, to recommend that Mayor Stanton create a position for Laieski in his office.

Laieski soon became the youngest staffer in Stanton's office, working on anti-bullying projects during his six-month stint. His presence seemed a perfect fit, since city First Lady Nicole Stanton had formed an anti-bullying organization to educate parents and teachers about bullying's tragic consequences. One-n-ten picked up the tab for Laieski's salary. Organization officials didn't respond to New Times' requests for details about how much the advocate was paid.

Citing pending litigation, city officials also didn't answer questions about Laieski's wages — or what his responsibilities and official duties were while on staff.

The teen was given a badge to City Hall, and during one of the outings with his younger friend, he took Joey on an unauthorized after-hours tour of the Mayor's Office.

Laieski had big ambitions.

When he was appointed to the position, he commented that while he was there, he would work "to see the dropout rate lower, intervention by school administrations steadily increase, and the suicide rate rapidly decline."

Likewise, Joey also started to speak out against bullying and was interviewed by local TV news reporters.

The boys' friendship soon became sexual.

Laieski moved into an apartment with roommates, and later, his father co-signed an apartment lease so Laieski could get his own place.

This didn't end the boys' relationship.

Joey's mother dropped off her son at the apartment for "weeks at a time." The unsupervised teens continued their sexual relations, even though Laieski sometimes resented that Joey's mother had "dumped" the younger boy at Laieski's place without considering his limited income and inability to support another person, Laieski told investigators.

He said Joey's mother was aware that they were having sex.

"His mom has wanted us to get together from day one," he said. "I mean, you put two gay guys in the same room that are slowly falling for each other, something's bound to happen."

She was "shocked as a mother" when she found out, Laieski said, yet she still encouraged their relationship.

In police interviews, the young man's mother told police that she thought they were just friends.

Wilson's attorney told the court that it's Joey's mother who should be "charged by the County Attorney's Office with child abuse" for putting both teens in the same bedroom. The lawyer claimed that she walked in on them once when they "were both naked."

Lincoln Combs, an attorney representing Joey's family, declined to comment on the ongoing cases but said his office is "still investigating the claims."

Police reports detail that during one of Joey's extended visits, Laieski received a text message from Wilson asking the boys if they were hungry and wanted to go out to lunch. Laieski agreed and told his friend to get ready.

During the outing, "[Joey] and [Wilson] started saying sexual jokes to each other . . . back and forth, back and forth," Laieski told investigators.

When they returned to Laieski's apartment, Laieski said, he was uncomfortable and didn't want anything sexual to happen between him and Wilson. He said he was trying to keep busy and ended up in the bathroom.

He said Wilson followed him in and commented that Laieski's armpit and back hair were gross. The then-police officer offered to shave him, Laieski said. Wilson later told detectives that he was showing the teen how to "manscape."

The shaving extended to Laieski's pubic area, he said, and Wilson commented at the time that it would be easier to accomplish if they were in the shower. Police reports show that they disrobed and stepped inside while Joey sat, fully clothed, on the toilet.

Laieski said his young friend peeked in the shower a couple of times but didn't join them.

When they finished showering, Wilson offered to perform oral sex on Joey, who hesitated but agreed, police documents state, based on interviews with the teens.

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Monica Alonzo
Contact: Monica Alonzo