Pennsylvania fire department re-elects convicted sex offender as chief

SPARTANSBURG, Pa. — Roger Gilbert’s name was listed as the volunteer fire chief in the small Pennsylvania town of Spartansburg after he was recently re-elected for the second time.

The problem, though, is that you’ll also find his name listed in the state’s Megan’s Law database for sex offenders, reports the Corry Journal.

Back in 2001, Gilbert was convicted of “involuntary deviate sexual intercourse” with a 4-year-old girl and served a 5- to 10-year prison sentence.

The decision to name him fire chief didn’t go over with some residents too well, including the victim’s mother. She told the Corry Journal Gilbert should not be placed in any position where he will have contact with children.

Gilbert on the other hand said he’s a changed man—”that was 20 years ago”—but his re-election drew plenty of attention after the story was picked up nationally by the AP.

Spartansburg is about 40 miles southeast of Erie, notes PhillyVoice, which points out that Gilbert was elected twice to his post as chief by his fellow firefighters, not the public. (Only about 300 people live in the town.)

“The firemen have always elected their own officers and that’s how it’s always been done,” Mayor Ann Louise Wagner tells the Journal. “We don’t question their decisions.” (Gilbert might see a change in his passport the next time he renews.)

Gilbert has since resigned his post, Fox 61 reported.

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