Phoenix, AZ (KPHO) — Handcuffs and jail stripes: It’s a stark contrast from the Phoenix Police uniform Chris Wilson wore for 15 years when he was the one handcuffing bad guys.
“Being on the other side and coming on this side, it’s really hard,” Wilson said.
Wilson agreed to talk exclusively about what lead to his arrest and indictment on 10 counts of sex with a minor.
Wilson said he blames no one but himself.
His fall from grace came in August 2012 when he was accused of having a three-way sexual encounter with two underage boys, one 17 and the other 14. It was a scandal that rocked the community and the police department.
“Just one mistake that occurred for an hour, you know?” Wilson said. “(That) Judged me for the rest of my life now.”
Wilson said at the time he didn’t know what he was doing was wrong.
Caleb Laieski, 17, an openly gay teen, was thrust into the spotlight for his activism on anti-bullying issues. He was recognized by the President of the United States for his efforts and then was appointed as the youth and diversity liaison for Mayor Greg Stanton’s office.
Wilson and Laieski became co-workers of sorts. Wilson was the department’s appointed go-between to the gay and lesbian community.
“You know, I enjoyed my job,” Wilson said. “I enjoyed working with the gay community and helping them out every day.”
The 14-year-old victim was Laieski’s friend and sometimes sexual partner.
“Did I intentionally go out and seek a person that was intentionally 14 years old? No I didn’t,” Wilson said. “The person was supposed to be 18.”
Wilson contended the younger teen was on a number of gay sex hookup sites that require you to be 18, but after his arrest, Wilson made a damning admission.
“I knew he was younger,” he said. “I thought he was 15 to 16.”
Wilson explained his rationale regarding Laieski, who he admits he knew was 17.
“He was emancipated,” Wilson said. “As far as I was concerned, that’s what he told me.”
But Laieski, who now lives in Washington, DC, sat down for an exclusive interview. He tells a very different story, one that paints Wilson as a predator.
“I was not emancipated. No,” Laieski said.
He said he never told Wilson he was emancipated.
“It was very clear that I was a 17 year old kid,” Laieski said.
Laieski did live alone in a downtown Phoenix apartment.
“I moved out on my own probably around 17 years old,” he said.
Laieski said he considered Wilson a mentor, and Wilson admitted he helped out the teen, who was trying to make his own way in the world.
Laieski said he thinks Wilson groomed him.
“Did I buy him some suits out of kindness? Yeah,” Wilson said. Wilson said he wanted nothing in return.
“At that time, we never slept together,” Wilson said. “That’s not what it was about. Did I groom him? No!”
“Am I a pedophile? No, I’m not a pedophile,” Wilson said.
Wilson said he is not a predator.
Laieski said he believes Wilson is both a pedophile and a predator.
Wilson’s charges stem from a one-on-one encounter between him and Laieski at Wilson’s home and the threesome that took place at Laieski’s apartment with the 14-year-old.
“I still unfortunately haven’t completely come to grasp everything,” Laieski said.
When he turned 18, Laieski the sex crime victim also became Laieski the sex crime suspect. A grand jury indicted him on multiple felony charges for his involvement with the 14-year-old. He was offered probation and counseling.
“I was a victim, and I’m not going to keep being victimized by the state, so I did take a plea,” he said.
Laieski is now 20 and works as a dispatcher for the Arlington Police Department. He hopes someday to enter politics.
“I’ve done my best to cope with it and move on,” he said.
Wilson, who has been in jail awaiting trial for close to three years, said he believes the system is treating him unfairly. The plea they’ve offered him is 27 years. He said during his law enforcement career, he’s made arrests for exactly the same thing he’s facing.
When asked what he was thinking, he said, “I wasn’t thinking at the time.”
Despite his admission to investigators, Wilson maintains it wasn’t until right after the incident that he learned the age of the younger teen.
“That night after the incident took place I just went home and sat in my shower,” he said, “two hours just sitting there with my gun to my head seeing if I could pull the trigger. But I couldn’t, you know. That’s how much it hurt me to know what happened.”
Moving on for Wilson begins with an apology.
“I’m definitely sorry to everybody,” he said.
Wilson is expected in court next week for a settlement conference, but it’s still possible this case could go to trial.