August 22, 2005
Dear Officer Green,
This letter is to follow up on our meeting on August 16, at which you requested that I provide you with certain information in writing. My name is Douglas Wilson, and I am the pastor of Christ Church here in Moscow, Idaho. My mailing address is P.O. Box 8084, Moscow, Idaho, 83843, and my street address is 1151 North Polk Extension, Moscow, Idaho, 83843. My home phone is 882-2447, and my office phone is 882-2034.
What I am recounting here I know in my capacity as a minister, but because of the nature of this case, the common issues surrounding the question of pastoral confidentiality do not directly apply. One of the members of our congregation was guilty of a criminal offense against another member, and the church does not have the authority to settle such issues in the way we would if it were a mere personal or civil dispute (1 Cor. 6:1–8). On this basis, I am more than willing to state what I know, and to answer any further questions you may have for me.
Gary and Pat Greenfield, and their daughter Natalie, are members of our congregation, as is Jamin Wight. But over the last year, Jamin has been attending our daughter congregation, Trinity Reformed Church, also here in Moscow. On Monday, August 15, Pastor Peter Leithart of Trinity Reformed and I met together with Gary and Pat Greenfield and Jamin Wight to discuss the situation, address any aspects of the situation that we were able to address, and determine what needed to be done.
The first thing we did was place Jamin under oath, and when he was under oath before God, we asked him if the written confession he had provided to the Greenfields some months ago was a true and accurate account. He replied that it was, but it is crucial for me to emphasize to you that there were two confessions, and that you have only been given one of them. When we first spoke, I was under the impression that you had the second, fuller confession in mind, and I answered your questions accordingly. When Jamin answered the questions we put to him, he was answering in terms of the second confession also, and not the confession you have. Jamin would describe the confession that you have as incomplete, but Gary (in the course of our discussion) described it as inaccurate. This inaccurate confession is the one that Pat Greenfield mistakenly gave to you.
That said, Jamin’s crime and sin in this was of a particularly egregious nature because he was studying for the ministry at the time, and his behavior involved a great deal of calculated deception — actively deceiving the Greenfields, his elders and pastor, and so on. At the same time, to the extent that Jamin presently understands himself (which I do not believe is complete yet), I believe he is genuinely repentant. He certainly has been most cooperative. He has been responsive to all the counsel we have given to him in this matter, and he committed himself to do whatever the church instructed him to do in the event the Greenfields filed a complaint. We have verbally instructed him (and have followed it up with a letter) that he is responsible to own his crime and take full responsibility for the consequences of it. We have told him that it is appropriate for him to obtain legal representation in order to ensure that his legal and civil rights are fully respected, and to ensure that the punishment given to him is not draconian or disproportionate. But we have also said that it would not be appropriate to use legal counsel in any way to evade his responsibilities in this matter. I believe that Jamin is fully committed to this.
One other thing regrettably needs to be noted. In the meeting, we took care to have Jamin acknowledge that no matter what circumstances actually set up the temptation, the crime, the sin, and the deception were his responsibility alone. Blame-shifting on his part would be utterly inappropriate, and we had Jamin acknowledge that he was in no position to absolve himself by pointing fingers at others. Having said this, I can observe what Jamin should not. In our meeting the Greenfields (who had no idea of the sexual behavior occurring between Jamin and Natalie) acknowledged their sin and folly in helping to set the situation up. They did this by inviting Jamin to move in with them, encouraging and permitting a relationship between Jamin and Natalie, while keeping that relationship secret from the broader community. They thought (and were led to believe by Jamin) that the relationship was sexually pure, but they did know it was a relationship between a man in his mid-twenties and their fourteen-year-old daughter, and they helped to create the climate of secrecy. At the same time, their folly (as Pat Greenfield has aptly pointed out) was not a felony. It is not a crime to be foolish, while it is a crime to do what Jamin did. I agree with this completely, and in describing this aspect of the situation I do not believe it absolves Jamin of any responsibility for his behavior. But it does explain what kind of criminal behavior it was. For example, I do not believe that this situation in any way paints Jamin as a sexual predator. In all my years as a pastor, I don’t believe that I have ever seen such a level of parental foolishness as what the Greenfields did in this.
At the same time, their folly was not a crime, and what Jamin did was. I am in a position where I want to provide pastoral counsel and help, as much as possible, to both the Greenfields and to Jamin. I believe this includes providing this information to you, and any other relevant information you may require from me. I also believe that it requires that I labor to see that justice really is done to Jamin (at the same time excluding injustice through severe penalties), as well as laboring to protect the Greenfields, particularly Natalie. I hope you find this helpful, and I am happy to answer any other relevant questions as necessary.