Convicted child molester gets elected as volunteer fire chief

By New York Post

Roger Gilbert Jr.

(NEW YORK POST) – A man convicted of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old girl has been re-elected as volunteer fire chief of a small Pennsylvania town — to the outrage of his victim’s mother.

Fire Chief Roger Gilbert Jr., who heads the Spartansburg volunteer fire company, pleaded guilty to “involuntary deviate sexual intercourse” in 2001 after forcing the toddler to perform oral sex on him, The Corry Journal reported Saturday.

Gilbert, 43, completed a five- to 10-year prison sentence for the heinous crime and is listed in the state’s Megan’s Law database.

The former felon joined the small town’s fire department in 2010 as an unpaid volunteer and was just re-elected to his second term as chief.

He told the paper that being on the force has changed his life for the better.

“That was 20 years ago,” he said of the crime.

“You know, the story you are telling kids is once you make a mistake, you will be punished for the rest of your life,” he said. “I’ve changed my life for the better. Every day I get up and try to do good.”

But his victim’s mother isn’t buying it.

“As fire chief, this man interacts with children,” she told the newspaper. “If you were in an accident, would you want this man working on your child?”

Mayor Ann Louise Wagner told the paper she and the firefighters knew of Gilbert’s sordid past in 2010 and that she won’t reverse their decision to make him chief.

“I support the fire department and their decision to have him as chief,” she said. “The firemen have always elected their own officers, and that’s how it’s always been done. We don’t question their decisions.”

Pennsylvania State Police said it’s up to each community to decide whether to allow sex offenders to serve at the local level.

Several residents of the town of 300 residents expressed support for their fire chief, Your Erie reported.

“He goes to our church, and he is trying his best to turn everything around for his life because he knows what happened is wrong,” said Allan Fisher.

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5 comments

  1. With all the wrong we have done God has forgiven us every time. This gentleman has served his time in prison doesn't he deserve a second chance in his life? He is only doing voluntary work. Whats the problem? There is something called forgiveness; I would prefer you telling persons be careful and keep their children under watchful eyes around the man. How you expect him to change if you don't give him a chance to do that.
    All I can say when your house is on fire and he comes to assist tell him go away you don't need his help!

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    • You are an ignorant piece of trash if you seriously believe that a CHILD MOLESTOR can be forgiven. Clearly you have some skeletons in your closet if you believe that “he served his time, all is forgiven.” Any adult who molests any child, regardless of age or degree of assault, deserves life in prison.

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  2. thats the thing about people and i mean human beings so what is wrong the guy cant be elected? doesnt everyone deserve a second chance if they did some wrong. i mean this happend so long and the guy already did his time in prison. we as people when someone does us something we want them to pay for it the rest of their life if the guy says he is changed then who are you to not believe him. if the guy is reelected second time as chief that means he is doing something right. my lady i believe you should get right with god and get this weight off your back.

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    • This man has committed a terrible crime against a minor, he acknowledges his guilt, and served time in prison for it. He is also listed on a sex offender’s register. He is a marked and visible person. He is not freely able to apply for work where he can be in direct contact with children. Under restriction, he gainfully applied his skills. Had there been evidence that he committed further sexual offences the community would not have trust him and re-elect him as voluntary fire chief. This is an unpaid job where he risks his life and wellbeing for others. We may have doubt as to whether his is fully rehabilitated but we must give him the credit that he has worked and continue to work to turn his life around.

      What this story goes to show is that long after a crime has been committed, and the criminal paid his dues, the victims are still left bearing unhealed scars. Who attends to their pains and enable them to get closure and move from the state of being victims to empowered survivors?

      This man managed to turn his life around but this mother is still in a state of anguish, goodness knows what emotional state her daughter is in! When society punishes the criminal without treating his victims’ true justice has not been done. “He is enjoying his life while I cannot enjoy mine”, in a truly compassionate society, should not be on the lips of his victims.

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  3. There are some jobs offenders of certain crimes should be barred from. No exceptions or Exemptions. Full Stop. All who supported that person is as bad as he is. There is other jobs he could have applied for.

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