Man charged with child rape, molestation pleads not guilty


Pierce County prosecutors tried Friday to have bail set at $5 million for a man accused of multiple counts of child rape and molestation, arguing that he has both the money and the means, as a licensed pilot, to flee.

But in the end, bail for Weldon Marc Gilbert, 47, was set at $1.5 million.

At the same hearing in Pierce County Superior Court, Gilbert pleaded not guilty to nine counts of child rape, child molestation and sexual exploitation of a minor, all the crimes taking place in the past six years, with many of them apparently captured on videotape.

Prosecutors filed the charges against Gilbert last week while he was in Atlanta attending training for his job as a UPS pilot. He was taken into custody there by FBI agents and extradited Thursday to Pierce County.

Sheriff’s investigators began looking into the activities of the Lake Tapps man after two men approached them Oct. 30 contending that Gilbert was molesting their younger brothers, one 18 years old and the other, 12. After interviewing the two, detectives determined that the older boy had been allegedly molested by Gilbert for the past six years and the younger boy was only more recently victimized.

The older boy was reported to have provided videotape to detectives that showed his younger brother being molested. A search warrant later provided scores of videotapes to investigators that they say include other depictions of juvenile boys being molested and raped.

During Friday’s court appearance, Gilbert, dressed in an orange jumpsuit with his wrists chained to his waist, was composed, his hair neatly combed. When Judge Ronald Culpepper asked whether he had any questions at the end of his hearing, Gilbert replied in a firm voice: “No sir. Thank you.”

The case against Gilbert has grown by leaps and bounds, with local investigators now talking with detectives in Chelan County, as well as federal authorities. Gilbert reportedly flew regularly to Chelan County and there is some concern he may have victimized young boys there.

Pierce County sheriff’s Detective Ed Troyer said investigators have already identified more than a dozen potential victims and still have at least 25 videotapes to view.

Gilbert’s attorney, John Henry Browne, said his client had been planning to turn himself in all along and he was working to arrange the surrender up to the day before agents arrested Gilbert.

“He had a ticket from Delta Air Lines to come here,” Brown said.

But Troyer said it didn’t matter what Gilbert planned to do. Once a warrant was issued for his arrest, authorities moved to get him.

“We don’t talk to defense attorneys when we’re looking for a suspect,” he said.

Deputy prosecutor John Sheeran initially tried to get a high bail for Gilbert because, he argued, the pilot has several ways to flee. He owns a helicopter, an airplane and a yacht. In addition, he said, Gilbert has assets worth $10 million.

Sheeran also told the judge that in 2002, Gilbert was investigated for fourth-degree assault in a case involving a spanking. But Sheeran said the case was dropped, and he suggested that allegations of witness tampering were raised at the time.

Brown said that wasn’t the case, but rather that the man who made the complaint did so for what Brown said were domestic reasons.

“It never went anywhere,” Brown said. “It was a consensual, adult thing.”

He argued that much of the evidence against his client has been overstated. Some of the DVDs and videotapes investigators have taken were of adults, he said.

“I think a lot of this stuff has been exaggerated,” Brown said.

The Sheriff’s Department stood by its investigation, Troyer said. If all those involved were adults, he said, “we wouldn’t be here right now.”

He predicted that the investigation would continue for months, if not longer. “I don’t see it ending for quite some time,” Troyer said.

Published in: on November 10, 2007 at 7:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Man charged with child rape, molestation pleads not guilty


Pierce County prosecutors tried Friday to have bail set at $5 million for a man accused of multiple counts of child rape and molestation, arguing that he has both the money and the means, as a licensed pilot, to flee.

But in the end, bail for Weldon Marc Gilbert, 47, was set at $1.5 million.

At the same hearing in Pierce County Superior Court, Gilbert pleaded not guilty to nine counts of child rape, child molestation and sexual exploitation of a minor, all the crimes taking place in the past six years, with many of them apparently captured on videotape.

Prosecutors filed the charges against Gilbert last week while he was in Atlanta attending training for his job as a UPS pilot. He was taken into custody there by FBI agents and extradited Thursday to Pierce County.

Sheriff’s investigators began looking into the activities of the Lake Tapps man after two men approached them Oct. 30 contending that Gilbert was molesting their younger brothers, one 18 years old and the other, 12. After interviewing the two, detectives determined that the older boy had been allegedly molested by Gilbert for the past six years and the younger boy was only more recently victimized.

The older boy was reported to have provided videotape to detectives that showed his younger brother being molested. A search warrant later provided scores of videotapes to investigators that they say include other depictions of juvenile boys being molested and raped.

During Friday’s court appearance, Gilbert, dressed in an orange jumpsuit with his wrists chained to his waist, was composed, his hair neatly combed. When Judge Ronald Culpepper asked whether he had any questions at the end of his hearing, Gilbert replied in a firm voice: “No sir. Thank you.”

The case against Gilbert has grown by leaps and bounds, with local investigators now talking with detectives in Chelan County, as well as federal authorities. Gilbert reportedly flew regularly to Chelan County and there is some concern he may have victimized young boys there.

Pierce County sheriff’s Detective Ed Troyer said investigators have already identified more than a dozen potential victims and still have at least 25 videotapes to view.

Gilbert’s attorney, John Henry Browne, said his client had been planning to turn himself in all along and he was working to arrange the surrender up to the day before agents arrested Gilbert.

“He had a ticket from Delta Air Lines to come here,” Brown said.

But Troyer said it didn’t matter what Gilbert planned to do. Once a warrant was issued for his arrest, authorities moved to get him.

“We don’t talk to defense attorneys when we’re looking for a suspect,” he said.

Deputy prosecutor John Sheeran initially tried to get a high bail for Gilbert because, he argued, the pilot has several ways to flee. He owns a helicopter, an airplane and a yacht. In addition, he said, Gilbert has assets worth $10 million.

Sheeran also told the judge that in 2002, Gilbert was investigated for fourth-degree assault in a case involving a spanking. But Sheeran said the case was dropped, and he suggested that allegations of witness tampering were raised at the time.

Brown said that wasn’t the case, but rather that the man who made the complaint did so for what Brown said were domestic reasons.

“It never went anywhere,” Brown said. “It was a consensual, adult thing.”

He argued that much of the evidence against his client has been overstated. Some of the DVDs and videotapes investigators have taken were of adults, he said.

“I think a lot of this stuff has been exaggerated,” Brown said.

The Sheriff’s Department stood by its investigation, Troyer said. If all those involved were adults, he said, “we wouldn’t be here right now.”

He predicted that the investigation would continue for months, if not longer. “I don’t see it ending for quite some time,” Troyer said.

Published in: on November 10, 2007 at 7:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Keller train ride owner faces child molestation suit

An amusement ride owner accused of molesting at least 12 children now faces a lawsuit.

Clinton Don Simpson, 65, is owner of Mr. Don’s Whistlestop, a miniature railroad he built on his Keller property and has operated for years.

On Friday, the parents of two girls sued Mr. Simpson and his wife, saying he molested the children for more than a year.

“My clients … don’t have health insurance,” said the parents’ attorney, Allen Vaught. “So a big goal of this lawsuit is for them to be able to afford for these children to get the care they need to make them whole.”

Mr. Simpson faces criminal charges alleging that he molested the two sisters, as well as other children.

An attorney for Mr. Simpson, who was being held at the Tarrant County Jail, has said that his client is innocent and that a confession he gave Keller police last month was coerced.

WFAA-TV
Published in: on November 10, 2007 at 4:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

Homeless man gets 20 years for child molesting

Even after his trial and convictions on three counts of child molesting, a homeless man said Friday that he did not see how touching a 4-year-old boy sexually was a crime.

Michael L. Cox, 35, was sentenced to 21 years in prison, seven years each for three Class C felonies. The last year will be spent on probation.

“I don’t think I did anything wrong,” Cox told Judge Pro Tem Bruce Graham during his sentencing hearing Friday in Tippecanoe Circuit Court.

“You don’t even understand you committed a crime,” Graham lamented. “That’s scary.”

Cox was arrested in October 2006 after the boy’s then 5-year-old sister told their mother about the incident. Cox had been watching the boy briefly at a residence on North Ninth Street in late September, which is when police suspect the molestation took place.

He was a friend of the victim’s family.

“These parents trusted this man,” Tippecanoe County deputy prosecutor Laura Zeman said. “He violated that trust in the most horrible way.”

Detective Matt Devine of the Lafayette Police Department, who investigated the allegations, testified Friday about Cox’s demeanor after his arrest.

Devine said Cox explained that he “does not conform to society’s laws. He does what he wants until he gets in trouble.

“… No 4-year-old should ever have to ask another person not to do that to them.”

Graham found Cox guilty of the crimes after a one-day bench trial on Oct. 2. At that time, Cox said he touched the boy out of curiosity, not sexual gratification.
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Published in: on November 10, 2007 at 4:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Homeless man gets 20 years for child molesting

Even after his trial and convictions on three counts of child molesting, a homeless man said Friday that he did not see how touching a 4-year-old boy sexually was a crime.

Michael L. Cox, 35, was sentenced to 21 years in prison, seven years each for three Class C felonies. The last year will be spent on probation.

“I don’t think I did anything wrong,” Cox told Judge Pro Tem Bruce Graham during his sentencing hearing Friday in Tippecanoe Circuit Court.

“You don’t even understand you committed a crime,” Graham lamented. “That’s scary.”

Cox was arrested in October 2006 after the boy’s then 5-year-old sister told their mother about the incident. Cox had been watching the boy briefly at a residence on North Ninth Street in late September, which is when police suspect the molestation took place.

He was a friend of the victim’s family.

“These parents trusted this man,” Tippecanoe County deputy prosecutor Laura Zeman said. “He violated that trust in the most horrible way.”

Detective Matt Devine of the Lafayette Police Department, who investigated the allegations, testified Friday about Cox’s demeanor after his arrest.

Devine said Cox explained that he “does not conform to society’s laws. He does what he wants until he gets in trouble.

“… No 4-year-old should ever have to ask another person not to do that to them.”

Graham found Cox guilty of the crimes after a one-day bench trial on Oct. 2. At that time, Cox said he touched the boy out of curiosity, not sexual gratification.

Published in: on November 10, 2007 at 4:47 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sex assault was ‘a parent’s nightmare’

A PEDOPHILE who abducted and sexually assaulted a five-year-old girl should be given an indefinite jail term, a South Australian court has heard.

Samuel Healy, 23, has pleaded guilty to the abduction and assault of the girl, who he led away from her Parkside home, in Adelaide’s inner south, during the early hours of December 23, 2002.

Healy broke into the home through an open window armed with a knife and woke the girl, who was asleep with her twin sister, by kissing her on the face, the South Australian Supreme Court heard.

He left only to return shortly later to take the girl out of the house and lead her to a nearby playground, where he exposed himself and sexually assaulted her.

In sentencing submissions today, prosecutor Elizabeth Griffith said Healy was unwilling to control his sexual urges and should not be released from jail until a judge deemed he was no longer a threat to the public.

“The facts of the offences can only be described as a parent’s worst nightmare,” Ms Griffith told the court.

“The safety of the home was invaded by an armed intruder.”

Ms Griffith said despite confessing to the offences at an early stage, Healy should be sentenced to a long period in jail as the assault had traumatised the young victim, her sister and her mother.

“The long term effect of the prisoner’s actions on these children is quite uncertain but there is no doubt that they can only be described as terrifying and frightening,” she said.

Healy was reported to police in February 2003 by a staff member who worked at Elizabeth TAFE where he was studying a certificate in child care, the court heard.

A police raid of Healy’s Rostrevor flat, in Adelaide’s east, in December 2003, found knives, ropes, sexual graffiti and badges that read “Samuel Healy babysitter”.

Healy will be sentenced on 11 charges including abduction, indecent assault, two counts of aggravated serous criminal trespass and two counts of unlawful sexual intercourse with a person under 12 years at a later date.

Published in: on November 10, 2007 at 7:04 am  Leave a Comment