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PA: Registered Sex Offender Elected As Fire Chief In Pa. Town, Mayor Defends Decision


SPARTANSBURG, Pa. (AP) – The mayor of a small Pennsylvania town is standing by its volunteer fire company’s re-election of a registered sex offender as its fire chief.

Chief Roger Gilbert Jr. was convicted in 2001 of sexual intercourse with a 4-year-old girl and is listed in the state’s Megan’s Law database, The (Corry) Journal reported Saturday . Court records show Gilbert is a felon who completed a five- to 10-year sentence for “involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.”

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. He was just elected to his second term.

“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.”

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Sex offender resigns as fire chief in Pennsylvania town


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  1. The Static-99R Is A Scam

    Why do I feel like laughing at this one?

    • Paul 2 HB 631

      lol thats kind of good news but I think some paranoid people will just stay stuck between the toilet and bathtub instead of calling the fire department

    • The Static-99R Is A Scam

      Just to add, there is certainly *nothing* funny of this man’s underlying crime. But the fact that this man, despite his background, was able to become the volunteer fire chief — and hold support of the mayor and his fellow firefighters — seems completely contrary to what I’d expect to read of. Yet even though this man has been offense-free many years — and has probably done much good since — the media insist on bringing up his background for all to criticize and critique.

      • Paul 2 HB 631

        I agree we can’t expect others to give us a chance if we can’t give a guy like this one. But 4yr old is some heavy duty problems to overcome.

  2. Fb

    Wow. This isn’t something to cheer. Intercourse with a 4 year old? And what the heck is “involuntary” sexual deviant behavior?

    • Michael

      Nonconsensual anal or oral intercourse coerced by physical force or other means.


    • AJ

      Involuntary from the perspective of the one against whom the offense was committed, not from the offender’s perspective. Rape would be another example…

  3. C

    The victim’s mother told the newspaper that she doesn’t believe he should be in a job where he could interact with children. [Even if it means saving a child’s life.]

    • Michael

      It’s not as if he would have the opportunity to be alone with a child while her house was on fire.


  4. Dustin

    The story requires Facebook or Twitter to comment, which I don’ have. If it’s not too much trouble, could someone please post this there for me?

    Journalists are notorious for omitting facts if they lessen outrage, and prosecutors for grossly exaggerating facts to support their charges. Accordingly, it’s not fair or accurate to determine what the man did simply by the title of the statute for which he was convicted.

    Second, it’s a volunteer, unpaid position elected by his peers who know him personally better than the mayor or anyone commenting here. His contact with minors is already limited (if not eliminated) by his status as a registered sex offender. Presumably his only direct contact with minors would be during an actual fire. I for one question who the really sick people are that would rather children die in a fire than be rescued by a registered sex offender.

    • David @Justin

      “I for one question who the really sick people are that would rather children die in a fire than be rescued by a registered sex offender.” LOL, they are the same people who would stone a girl to death for being raped and, therefore, being responsible for bringing shame upon the family name. Oh wait, we’re in the U.S., not in some ass-backward third world country! Oh well, same mentality!!

    • Tim Moore

      I’ll do it for you, Dustin.

    • Tim Moore

      I added something and changed “registered sex offender” to “registered citizen”. Since it was in my name, I just couldn’t use that phrase for someone I am arguing is rehabilitated. Hope you don’t mind.

      • Dustin

        Thank you. I don’t mind the change, but don’t think the public recognizes the term “registered citizen.” Thinking back, I probably should start using the phrase on those comment boards.

        • Tim Moore

          They don’t recognize it, but that is its power. When the brain has to stop and consider an unusual, unexpected phrase, a door hinge is loosened and some kind of learning can enter.
          Thanks for letting me use your comments. A lot of times I get writer’s block.

  5. Michael

    Unlike the people who commented on the article on the CBS Pittsburgh website, I won’t speculate or assume to know the circumstances of a crime that happened 17 years ago when the guy was 26. I don’t see how it is germane considering the fact that his peers support him. They know something the rest of us don’t.


  6. New Person

    The comment section is what Colorado Judge Matsch identified, the public is what make the registry cruel and unusual punishment.

    A majority of those people commenting do not believe this guy can ever be good and will always be a monster. What they’re all missing is he is being “re-elected” to be the fire chief by his peers at the station. He is volunteering his time to help save lives, homes, and businesses. That’s never good enough.

    • Paul 2 HB 631

      You have to keep in mind that what this guy did is at a level that is not easy for someone to come back from at the age of the victim its probably on the scale of murder if you think about the level of brutality and selfishness But we do not know the details and we are expecting people to give us a chance so its a hard one for me.

      • kind of living

        there you go , not truly knowing the facts , besides that fact that he was already judged , i have been looking for ever and just cant seem to find the part where the citizen gets to judge in less they are a part of the jury , he did his time its not for anyone to judge any longer , that means … well you know everynoe

        • Paul 2 HB 631

          I think we need to accept that people that commit SO are not the same as people that have never committed a crime. Making the public aware that the registration laws are wrong is one thing. Trying to convince the public that someone that has intercorce with a 4yr old can now allow himself to be in situations where he may be alone with a child or trusted public authority is a hole different ball game. I think that just makes it harder to fight the registry. We all know there are situations that we hopefully learned to keep ourselves out of. Would any of you think this guy should be able to start a babysitting business? Once you cross the line there are things we are subject to because of that the more you try to pretend that isn’t true the more paranoid the public will be and push for harsher reg laws. We don’t know the details but we do know the guy has responsibilities because of his actions also. Not everything comes down to Jail time. An alcoholic has a responsibility to keep himself out of situations that might tempt him to drink The same goes for this guy. His crime was not CP or flashing someone. I would think he’d accept that maybe being such a public figure and the possibility of him being in situations with the public that are not good is not such a good idea.

        • kind of living

          you need to accept that drawing lines between sex crimes will never work , because its still unconstitutional , you talking about a very broad verity of jobs hear , baby sitting now , oh and yes us alcoholics we have to watch out , lol look you don’t get to say what someones trigger is , or what the public is going to Think , and who cares what they think or say , if the man can do the job and he is not breaking the law leave him the hell alone , I am worried only for the RC being able to move on in life , oh man you just messed up my next idea for some extra cash “baby sitter” , damn man get real , we are talking about a job where he has done nothing wrong , and you cant mind read what anyone is going to do , you don’t even know what the person that takes his place will do or not do , you have no clue what the next CP violator will do , you seem to think that none of them live out their fantasy ever , we have cops raping and killing people out here in the real world , anyone even going to try to read when the next one will happen ? even knowing that a good many are miss treating people in their power posion , all you can offer up is the 4 yr old , drawing more lines , your a sex offender dude and drawing lines are not going to change that , what ever your crime , so why don’t you man up and stand up for everyone rather than seeing to it someone always ends up under the damn bus

  7. JoeHillsGhost

    The mayor’s reaction, not giving in to hysteria, and the support of his fellow firefighters, is refreshing. They know what the guy did, yet seem ok with who he is now.

  8. J

    If someone has completed a sentence , they ALWAYS deserve an EQUAL plaing field. This is GREAT news!

  9. Tim Moore

    If any of those commenters had any wisdom, they would try to learn from this fire chief. What happened and what he did to change it. Simple. That is the problem, uncomfortable sexual occurrences are always pushed under the rug and the former offenders silenced and segregated to invisibility. People act on fear and not information. If they did the same thing at their jobs, that is, ignore information and go all out on ignorance, they would not be productive or even destructive. How important is protecting children to these people, anyway? Not very. They don’t want to hear what may solve the problem, but just please the crowd.

    • kind of living

      @ Tim Moore ,,,,, ,, I agree 100% , i think this why we don’t ever get very far getting rid of this registry , because people don’t care that offenders can be fixed , but all they think is what they read in comments on high profile articles that are slanted with hate , none of these people want to here about those that not only can change but those that did change , and they almost never hear how dirty the courts can be , that’s just a rough draft of what I have been thinking lol , but my heart go’s out to this guy that has gained the respect we all crave , and is willing to lay his life down for others with no pay check ,

      • Tim Moore

        I heard the guy said he was not going to work in a job that helps people ever again. He may be overly optimistic that he can get any job at all after this. No one is going to help him, that’s why we need to help ourselves.

        • kind of living

          @ Tim Moore ,,,,, ,, I don’t blame him people don’t want RC’s to save their life , I think its the other way around , rather than him being overly optimistic about a job since he was not paid anyway , I think its the public that’s overly optimistic about be saved , always good to see you my friend

        • Tim Moore

          They say volunteer positions of authority look good on a resume. Not this time.

    • The Static-99R Is A Scam

      That’s bullshit. He should have never resigned.

    • Dustin

      A damn shame, for sure. Betting there’s more to the story than was reported, starting with his reason for quitting.

  10. David

    😞 This is exactly why the Registries need to be abolished! He had moved on with his life and was doing good for his community.

    If you see a flame-engulfed school bus full of trapped children, you’d better step away. Don’t try to help – the only thing in the news headlines will be your past in big bold lettering! 😞

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