PHOENIX -- The chief of the Phoenix Police Department on Monday announced the arrest of one of his own -- an officer with the Community Relations Bureau -- for alleged sexual conduct with a minor.
Chief Daniel Garcia said Officer Christopher Jay Wilson, 43, was arrested Tuesday night and "immediately resigned in lieu of facing termination."
Wilson, a 13-year veteran of the department, is facing 10 felony counts in connection with two alleged relationships -- one with a 17-year-old, the other with a 14-year-old. Both victims are male.
Garcia said the 14-year-old boy came forward, calling that a "courageous act." The teen went to his parents who in turn went to the police.
"He brought to us allegations of sexual misconduct by our officer," Garcia explained. "The investigation then revealed a second victim -- a 17-year-old male -- also involved in this incident."
The investigation, which was launched Tuesday, led within hours to Wilson's arrest and subsequent resignation.
"This tragic incident was a disturbing violation of our community's public trust," Garcia said.
Wilson reportedly met the 17-year-old as part of his police work with the Community Relations Bureau. It was not immediately clear how long Wilson had been assigned to the bureau or how long he had been involved in community outreach programs.
"He is a liaison to the community and through those outreach programs, he met this 17-year-old," explained Sgt. Trent Crump, Phoenix Police Department. He did know the circumstances of that first encounter.
Investigators believe the relationship with the 17-year-old was about three to four months old, and the relationship with the 14-year-old was about three to four weeks old.
Neither Garcia nor Crump say anything about how Wilson met the 14-year-old, the teen whose allegations sparked the investigation into Wilson and his behavior.
There are no allegations that force was used with either teen.
"These relationships as we know them right now were consensual, however the age does not allow consent," Crump said as he explained that the charges against Wilson are similar to what many states call "statutory rape."
At this point, investigators are not sure of there are other victims. Detectives will be scrutinizing Wilson's past as they work to build their case.
"I'm extremely disturbed and disgusted by this conduct," Garcia said. "This is not reflective of the department we have and the officers in service. [This incident] demanded transparency from our department and it demanded swift action by our department."
“As a father of two, my heart goes out to the victims and their families," said Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton in a statement released shortly after Garcia's announcement. "A crime against a child is horrible and unimaginable on its own, but when someone of authority you trust is the suspect, it becomes something far worse.
“Detectives worked quickly to solve this case, apprehend and arrest the suspect, and the investigation is ongoing. I know that Phoenix has the best police department in the nation, and I have faith that our officers and our new Chief Daniel V. Garcia will work to make sure justice is done. The act of one officer does not reflect on the police department as a whole. Safety of our kids and Phoenix residents continues to be the top priority in our city, and I know Chief Garcia will work to ensure that.”
Garcia was was hired to head up the Phoenix Police Department in March. When he began his new assignment in May, he promised he would take a hands-on practical approach to the job.
Wilson has been booked into Maricopa County Jail. Because one of his alleged victims is younger than 15, Wilson is not eligible for bail and will not be released from custody for the time being.
A status conference will be held on Aug. 15 followed by a preliminary hearing on Aug. 17.