Gilbert pleads guilty to state charges, sentencing date set
November 30, 2009 · 4:29 PM
A Lake Tapps pilot pleaded guilty to state charge of federal child-sex crimes Nov. 20.
Weldon Marc Gilbert, 49, entered guilty pleas to two counts of first-degree child molestation and nine counts of sexual exploitation of a minor in Pierce County Superior Court.
He will be sentenced Dec. 11.
Four days earlier, Gilbert was sentenced to 25 years in federal prison by U.S. District Court Judge Benjamin Settle.
He pleaded guilty in April to 35 child-sex charges in federal court.
Gilbert was arrested in Atlanta, Ga., in October 2007 after two victims reported the abuse to Pierce County sheriff’s detectives.
He originally was charged in state court, but that case was put on hold while federal authorities prosecuted him.
Gilbert, a former pilot for United Parcel Service, pleaded guilty to 35 federal counts – most of them for producing child pornography – and agreed to make a plea deal with state prosecutors.
According to federal court records, Gilbert sexually abused 17 boys, one as young as 10, during a period of several years.
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 abused him since March 2001 when he was 12 years old.
In the documents, it states 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.