“Because he told you that someone was potentially listening at the start of the conversation, I felt free to listen to it.” Detective Douglas Wilson
“I am probably going to lose one of the best elders I ever had.” Detective Douglas Wilson
D E T E C T I V E W I L S O N
Having already ordered the young gamblers to pay back their winnings to the casino house, Pastor Douglas Wilson took command of the scandal and appointed himself chief investigator of the MSC. Strike that. Pastor Wilson became the only investigator of the MSC.
Now, for most people, this would seem like an open-and-shut case — a real no-brainer. It’s not as though he had to explain the origin of Stonehenge or decipher some mysterious crop circle in the middle of Kansas. He didn’t even have to find the one-armed man. He simply had to cross-examine the players; interview the residents who lived in the house (not all the residents were players, but all of them were members of Christ Church); notify the gamblers’ parents, etc.; and then crack the whip to make sure that everyone paid up. And of all men, surely the author of Future Men would know how to hold the young bettors accountable. After all, he wrote the book.
Notwithstanding Detective Wilson’s simple assignment, some of the boys’ parents complained that Wilson failed to notify them of their children’s illegal conduct, and that they heard about the casino through the grapevine. Indeed, it is highly probable that some parents still do not know about these events. (Caveat emptor: it’s for good reason that the New Saint Andrews College catalog and its website states, “We refuse to act in loco parentis.”)
Furthermore, there is no evidence showing that Wilson bothered to interrogate any witnesses at all. In fact, several young men who lived at the house said that he never even asked them one question. Perhaps this explains the reason why two weeks into his investigation, Detective Wilson still didn’t have a clue. He was flat out of leads. The trail ran cold. Therefore he listened to a tape-recorded telephone conversation between the casino manager (Dr. Atwood’s son, Ethan) and the casino house (Brett).
In the following email (below), Detective Wilson admits listening to a secretly recorded telephone conversation between Ethan and Brett. Dr. Atwood’s son recorded the conversation without asking Brett’s permission and without informing him of the covert operation. The conversation took place after the casino was discovered, when both men were members in good standing at Christ Church, and, as noted, Wilson had no problem with Ethan’s behavior. He also had no problem listening to the tape.
Detective Wilson justified his unethical conduct by saying, “he told you that someone was potentially listening.” Of course Wilson couldn’t know that Ethan said this unless he first listened to the tape. But that doesn’t matter. The phrase “someone is potentially listening” is not the moral equivalent of “I’m recording you so that I can play it for Detective Wilson.” It’s not even close. No, Wilson couldn’t wait to feed on this tasty trifle, and “someone is potentially listening” gave him all the “plausible deniability” that he needed. Unfortunately, Detective Wilson gained no new information from the tape, and once again he had no more leads.
The propriety of Detective Wilson’s conduct is a matter for others to worry about, unless of course you’re a member of Christ Church. Then you have good reason to believe that eavesdropping is your pastor’s standard operating procedure. If he did it once, then he would do it again — and there’s no reason to believe that he hasn’t done it before. Worse yet, if he’s willing to invade the telephone privacy of a member in good standing, then what other violations would he commit at the drop of a hat? Put another way, if he seared his conscience here, then where else has he seared it?
(Please note that the unidentified “companion [who] was listening in unbeknownst to [Wilson]” was Dr. Atwood’s son, Ethan.)