No Dr. Phil mea culpas for disgraced drug task force commander — and Dr. Phil?

So, a federal judge said a former Contra Costa County drug task force commander, indicted on multiple federal drug sales and theft charges, could not travel to Los Angeles to tape an appearance on the Dr. Phil TV talk show.

Among the conditions for Norm Wielsch to remain free on $100,000 bail is that he remain in Northern California. Wielsch, the former chief  of the Central Contra Costa County Narcotics Enforcement Team, known as CNET, is accused of working with his friend and ex-Antioch police colleague, private eye Chris Butler,  to steal methamphetamine and marijuana from police evidence lockers and sell it back on the street.The two also are accused of operating a Pleasant Hill massage parlor,  according to Concord Patch.

Wielsch had asked for permission to travel to Los Angeles on Feb. 5 to talk to reality talk show host psychologist Phil McGraw. A federal judge said no.

Dr. Phil should be familiar with the case, especially the P.I. shenanigans of Chris Butler. Dr. Phil was one of a host of media figures who went for Butler’s made-for-TV P.I. moms story.

Butler and his private investigations firm received coverage from People magazine, The Today Show and Dr. Phil, among others, for hiring mothers to help investigate cheating husbands. Butler had signed a deal for a new reality show to air on Lifetime Television around the time he and Wielsch were arrested.

It’s still amazing to me that news organizations fell so easily for the P.I. moms story. Any self-respecting private investigator I know would shy away from media attention. It would be bad for business.

But the story he was peddling was too good to be true and many members of the Bay Area and national media went for it.

Peter Crooks, my former colleage at Diablo magazine, was about ready to publish another P.I. moms story,  although he sensed things were not right about the supposed cheating-boyfriend sting Butler invited him to witness. Crooks eventually learned it was all a setup, an elaborate drama of a surveillance staged for the benefit of him writing a story. Crooks also learned Butler and his friend Wielsch were involved in far more serious acts of corruption.

Wielsch gave an interview to Crooks, published in December’s Diablo magazine,  in which he explains he crossed to the dark side due to pressure of the job, anxiety about his daughter’s cancer and his own debilitating peripheral neuropathy.

Wielsch’s purpose for going on the Dr. Phil show was to encourage other law enforcement officers, battling with stress and depression, to seek psychological help, said Wielsch’s attorney Michael Cardoza, according to a Bay City News article.

I wonder what Dr. Phil’s purpose was in revisiting this story. Yeah, it’s a good story. And, Wielsch’s disgrace and statements of remorse make for another good story. 

Dr. Phil likes to present himself as the tough-talking interviewer with a highly acute bullshit detector who won’t let his subjects rationalize their way out of taking responsibility for their actions.  Maybe Dr. Phil could have explained why he wasn’t listening to his bullshit detector when Chris Butler approached him with the P.I. moms story.

3 thoughts on “No Dr. Phil mea culpas for disgraced drug task force commander — and Dr. Phil?

  1. Yeah, it was neuropathy that made him do it. The root problem is that there are too many bored sheriff dept. members in Contra Costa.

    Idle hands…..


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