Roger Gilbert Jr., convicted child molester and registered sex offender, was elected as fire chief of the volunteer dept in the small town of Spartansburg, PA, in 2016
A convicted child molester and registered sex offender has resigned from his position as chief of a volunteer fire department in Pennsylvania, Friday, but blames outsiders for pushing him out of the position.
Roger Gilbert Jr., 43, had been the fire chief of Spartansburg Volunteer Fire and Ambulance since at least 2016, and was recently re-elected to the position even though town officials and his fellow volunteers knew about his conviction for raping a 4-year-old girl. The chief position is unpaid.
Records show that Gilbert is a felon who completed a five-to-10 year sentence for “involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.”
Gilbert had just been elected to his second term. Before his resignation, the town’s mayor, his fellow firefighters and some members of the community were standing by him.
Spartansburg Mayor, Ann Louise Wagner says she and firefighters have been aware that Gilbert, an unpaid volunteer with the department since 2010, is a sex offender: “I support the fire department and their decision to have him as chief,” Wagner told the Journal. “The firemen have always elected their own officers and that’s how it’s always been done. We don’t question their decisions,” Wagner said.
An irritated Gilbert said: “My family and our community are being attacked,” Gilbert told
“I didn’t want that to continue. All I have done for 18 years is good things. But outsiders are tearing us up. I felt the best thing to do was back away.”
Gilbert told the news station that he will also no longer be a firefighter with the department. He has been a member for 25 years and spent five years as an assistant chief before being elected as fire chief in 2016.
Questions were first raised about Gilbert when local newspaper, The Corry Journal, spoke to the victim’s mother who was shocked and outraged to learn that he is in a position of authority in a town just miles away from where her daughter was sexually abused in 2000.
Gilbert pled guilty to involuntary deviant sexual intercourse with a child, a felony, in 2001 and two other charges, indecent assault of a person under 13 and corruption of minors, both misdemeanors, were dropped.
He was sentenced to 5 to 10 years in prison. He is listed on the state’s Megan’s Law website.
Unrepentant convicted sexual deviant and registered sex offender, Roger Gilbert Jr, is cross that he has been forced to resign as fire chief in the Pennsylvania town of Spartansburg
According to the arrest complaint Gilbert had forced the 4-year-old victim to perform oral sex on him. He was arrested after he incidents of rape which occurred in September 2000.
He received a 10 year sentence after pleading no contest to the felony charge of involuntary deviant sexual intercourse with a child in August 2001 and two misdemeanor charges were dropped by prosecutors.
Described by Erie County Judge Stephanie Domitrovich sentenced as a “sexually violent predator,” Gilbert also received 10 years of probation and registered as a sex offender.
After serving six years of his sentence, Gilbert was released on parole, but promptly returned to prison in 2007 to complete the remainder of his sentence after it was found that he had been interacting with minor children.
The victim’s mother told The Corry Journal that she thinks public safety is being put at risk by allowing Gilbert to be fire chief.
In her view: “They are just sweeping this under the rug,” she told the newspaper.
“They are putting other lives at stake by allowing him to be in this position. Children look up to and trust firefighters. He can’t be trusted because he is a child molester.”
“She was 4,” the victim’s mother lamented.
“This man cannot be trusted. He should not be allowed to have certain rights for what he did. He thinks he served his time, but my daughter has to with a situation she didn’t ask for the rest of her life. As fire chief, this man interacts with children. If you were in an accident, would you want this man working on your child?”