The Shubin Report: Doug Wilson and the Attorneys

Part II: Steven Sitler’s criminal defense attorney

“I think it’s a reasonable restriction that he not reside with his wife and child in the future, if, in fact they have children. Would you like to submit an order to that effect, Mr. Wullenwaber?” The Honorable Judge John Stegner

To set this up, in 2011 Pastor Doug Wilson of Christ Church, Moscow, presided over the wedding of a serial pedophile named Steven Sitler to an incredibly naïve graduate of New Saint Andrews College (NSA) named Katie Travis (now Sitler). An elder from Christ Church1 introduced the couple hoping they would marry, which they did. In 2015 the couple had a baby and the Department of Probation & Parole banned Mr. Sitler from his living at his home, to protect the child from his father who admitted he “had contact with his child that resulted in actual sexual stimulation.” At the same time, P&P stripped Katie Sitler of her chaperone status because she broke her agreement with the state by failing to report her husband’s deviant activity. The pedophile now lives in a motel on the outskirts of town, away from his wife & child, and the Court has not set a date for him to return, though it has restored Katie as a chaperone. In short, this covenant home is a complete disaster with little or no hope of survival. The child will grow up without a natural father in his life — a man he can trust not to rape him — and the wife suffers one public humiliation after another as she watches (with the world) her husband fail to contain his pedophiliac orientation. But Doug Wilson defends the union as lawful, claiming he would do it again “next week.”

So Rachel Shubin asked Douglas Wilson about the Sitler marriage. The conversation developed but suddenly Mr. Wilson ended it, without notice. Here are pages 20–22 of the Shubin Report:

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Mr. Wilson’s Explanation and Assessment of Their Marriage
Here is Mr. Wilson’s response to why a church elder setting up a family friend with a convicted pedophile was a wise choice:

RS: Did you think that marrying Steven Sitler was a wise choice for Katie Sitler at the time and is your opinion still the same now?

DW: Yes. I thought Katie knew what she was doing at the time. And I still think that.

RS: That’s not quite what I’m asking. I’m asking if you thought it was wise for her to marry a serial pedophile who said he wanted children and who the judge said would be obliged to leave his own house if that came to pass. Does marrying that kind of man seem like a wise plan for a young woman who wants to marry and begin a family?

DW: Stated that way, no. But that is not an accurate way of stating it. I thought at the time that it was wise for them to marry, and think so still. But you are importing certain assumptions into your question about his views of children, my understanding of those views, and what would be necessary if a decision to have children was made.

RS: Doug, Steven told his parole officer that children and family were a very important part of his religion and they were planning to start a family after Katie graduated. The judge said that if that happened, Steven wouldn’t be able to live with them. I’m not making assumptions about whether or not Steven planned to have kids or whether or not he would have to move out if that happened. It’s in the court documentation.

The only one of the three things you mentioned — Steven’s views of children, your understanding of those views, and what would be necessary if a decision to have children was made — is your understanding of those views, and that is what I am trying to figure out. So, why do you think it was wise for Katie to marry Steven? Why it would benefit Steven to marry her is pretty easy to see.

DW: Right. But I think you are making assumptions about how much of that I knew at the time. The best I can recall, my functional assumption was that if the Sitlers wanted to have children, it would need to be cleared by the court. They did not get pregnant right away, and when they eventually did, it was not as a result of consulting with me.

On your second question, about the wisdom of Katie marrying Steven, I can say that I think she was not being foolish. Believe me, it was a topic. Unfortunately, I can’t go into the reasons for thinking that without violating pastoral confidentiality.

RS: Did you try to talk her out of it? Also, in both your “An Open Letter From Christ Church” and “From Where You Are” posts on Blog & Mablog, you said this:

“We agree with Judge Stegner who approved the wedding and said that ‘an age-appropriate relationship with a member of the opposite sex from Mr. Sitler is one of the best things that can happen to him and to society.”

This quote from Judge Stegner is from a status conference held to determine whether or not Steven and Katie’s wedding should proceed. During that very same conference, Steven’s parole officer says that Steven was planning to have children and Judge Stegner says that Steven would not be able to live with his child if he had one. In fact, he says it right in between the section about the age-appropriate rela­tionship and the line about authorizing the wedding to proceed, which you mention in your Reluctant Response to Rod Dreher. Here is Stegner’s entire quote from the marriage hearing:

“But I think more importantly is that an age-appropriate relationship with a member of the opposite sex for Mr. Sitler is one of the best things that can happen to him and to society. I’m no expert on these testing devices; but I am familiar enough with them to know that a two-year relationship with a member of the opposite sex who is age appropriate reduces his likelihood to recidivate, at least on a statistical basis. So here we have a young man who has committed heinous crimes and wants to engage in what I think everyone in the room would consider to be a prosocial relationship. So I’m going to let the wedding proceed. If and when Mr. Sitler and Miss Travis have children we will cross that bridge when we get to it — or, if we need to address it sooner than that, I am happy to address it sooner than that. But I . . . I think it’s a reasonable restriction that he not reside with his wife and child, in the future, if in fact they have children. Would you like to submit an order to that effect, Mr. Wullenwaber? I have specifically authorized Mr. Sitler’s wedding to proceed.”

Since you have quoted the bracketing statements, the assumption that you were aware of the section in between does not seem unwarranted. If you did not know about the statement in yellow, then how did you know the two quotes in blue?

DW: I wouldn’t say I tried to talk her out of it. I would describe it as determining whether or not she knew what she was doing, and if she was acting reasonably, given what she was dealing with. I worked to make sure she was going in with eyes open. Unfor­tunately, although there is more to say, I can’t say any more than that.

I was quoting from an attorney’s letter, and not from the source document. But the source document lines up with what I was assuming, which is that there would have to be court approval before any children.

RS: Do you know if court approval was obtained before they had children?

DW: I don’t believe so.

RS: Hey Doug, came across another one. We were talking about Stegner’s quotes at the status conference on Katie & Steven’s wedding, and I had asked about this one that was sandwiched in between two others that you had quoted about the efficacy of an age-appropriate relationship and about allowing the wedding to proceed: “But I . . . I think it’s a reasonable restriction that he not reside with his wife and child, in the future, if in fact they have children.” This was your reply:

I was quoting from an attorney’s letter, and not from the source document. But the source document lines up with what I was assuming, which is that there would have to be court approval before any children.

I just wanted to double check on the attorney’s letter. Was that written to you from Wullenwaber? Was it written to Steven? I guess what I’m asking is how you ended up reading the letter and what the rest of the letter was about. If it was specifically about their upcoming wedding, did it include the entirety of Stegner’s quote including the residency restriction in the event of children? If not, that seems like a rather relevant piece of information that the lawyer declined to communicate. Thanks!

Note: That was the last email I sent to Mr. Wilson, and he did not respond. (Shubin Report, 20–22)

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Doug Wilson had a letter written by an attorney. The letter included a transcription of Judge Stegner’s decision regarding the Sitler marriage. Mr. Wilson put Judge Stegner’s decision in a false light. And Rachel Shubin asked a flurry of questions that Mr. Wilson refused to answer because he knew her next two questions would be, “Why did you create a false impression by quoting Judge Stegner out of context?” and “Why did you preside over the ceremony knowing that Judge Stegner banned Sitler from living in his home if and when they had children?” She pinned him.

Since there are no FOIA requests for the transcript, we assume that Sitler’s criminal defense attorney (Dean Wullenwaber) wrote the letter to inform its recipients (including Doug Wilson) that Judge Stegner authorized the marriage. This letter would be dated sometime between June 1, 2011 (the date of the status conference), and June 10, 2001 (the day before the wedding), because Mr. Wilson officiated at the ceremony on June 11, 2011. This would mean that when Mr. Wilson joined the couple in holy matrimony, he knew that Judge Stegner had banned Steven Sitler from living in his home if he ever had children.

Doug Wilson had full knowledge of this shipwreck five years before it occurred. That is, he knew that little boy would grow up in a home without a father and that wife would not be able to live in the same house with her husband. He learned it in writing from an attorney he was in the loop. When called to account Mr. Wilson misrepresented Judge Stegner to justify his role in the marriage. And he says he would do it again “next week.”

One other thing: Pastor Douglas Wilson of Christ Church, Moscow, is the Presiding Minister of the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches.


1 His name is Ed Iverson. He now pastors a church for the Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC) in Colville, Washington.

3 Comments

  1. DW was so intent on being “wordsmithy” and showing how he could he could dance around a mere woman’s questioning that he lost track and said a bit too much. He realized his mistake too late and went radio silent. As with all would-be criminal masterminds, he got tripped up while monologuing. Appropriate, that.

  2. RS: That’s not quite what I’m asking. I’m asking if you thought it was wise for her to marry a serial pedophile who said he wanted children and who the judge said would be obliged to leave his own house if that came to pass. Does marrying that kind of man seem like a wise plan for a young woman who wants to marry and begin a family?

    DW: Stated that way, no. But that is not an accurate way of stating it.

    Can someone please tell me how that ISN’T an accurate way of stating it?

    1. Of course it’s accurate and Rachel could have been even more precise if she wanted. But from Wilson’s point of view it’s not accurate because it doesn’t fit the narrative, which is “Katie had all the facts,” therefore she is responsible for this decision that wrecked a good part of her life and her child’s. As for the CREC pastors who pushed her into this decision, their hands are clean — because “Katie had all the facts.”

      Hell will need another circle to accommodate Doug Wilson and the CREC when this thing is finished.

      But I’m pretty sure you know this.

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