News

Man pleads guilty to

Man pleads guilty to

sex crimes

A Lake Tapps man accused of dozens of sex crimes involving children pleaded guilty in federal court Thursday in Tacoma.

Weldon Marc Gilbert, a 48-year-old pilot, pleaded guilty to 31 counts of production of child pornography, along with two counts of transporting a minor across state lines to engage in sexual activity and two counts of obstruction of justice, according to a press release from the U.S. Attorney’s office.

Gilbert, who is scheduled to be sentenced Aug. 18, could face up to 25 years in prison. He will remain at the federal detention center in SeaTac, Wash.

“With this plea agreement we ensure that Weldon Marc Gilbert will not have any access to children for a long, long time,” stated U.S. Attorney Jeffrey C. Sullivan. “Resolving this case now allows the victims to continue the healing process, without reliving in court the horror Gilbert inflicted upon them when they were young boys.”

The plea is also dependent upon Gilbert’s guilty plea to charges in Pierce County Superior Court, according to court documents.

The former pilot for United Parcel Service was arrested in November 2007 in Altanta and charged in federal court the same month.

Pierce County Sheriff’s Department detectives began investigating Gilbert after two men reported they were concerned Gilbert was molesting their two younger brothers. According to court documents, one of the brothers told investigators Gilbert had abused him since March 2001 when he was 12 years old.

The documents state that Gilbert took a minor to Canada in 2005 for sexual purposes. It also stated in 2007, Gilbert transported four minor males from Washington to Canada to engage in illegal sexual conduct.

The documents state police found more than 100 video tapes and DVDs showing Gilbert sexually abusing and torturing at least 20 boys at his Lake Tapps home. They also seized CDs, floppy disks, ropes, paddles, sex toys, blindfolds, computers, firearms and other evidence.

The obstruction of justice charges are related to his actions when he learned he was under police investigation in 2007 and after he was charged federally and was in custody in 2008. Court documents state that Gilbert, by telephone in 2007 and by letter in 2008, tried to get one of his victims to lie about what happened in the investigation.

Gilbert is a licensed commercial transport pilot and co-owned an aviation company called Lake Tapps Flyer.

In the plea, Gilbert forfeits a 2004 Lexus, a 2006 Ford F-150 truck, a 1981 Bell helicopter and a 1968 Cessna float plane along with two computers and a camera.

Reach Dannie Oliveaux at doliveaux@courierherald.com or 360-802-8209.

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