Mayor Defends Convicted Sex Offender Re-Elected as Town Fire Chief

Roger Gilbert Jr

Roger Gilbert Jr

The mayor of a tiny northwestern Pennsylvania town is standing by its volunteer fire company's election of a registered sex offender as its fire chief.

Chief Roger Gilbert Jr., of Spartansburg, was convicted of having sex with a four-year-old girl in 2001 and served five to ten years in prison for "involuntary deviate sexual intercourse", the Daily Mail reported.

Since then Gilbert, 43, joined Spartansburg Volunteer Fire Department in 2010 and was recently re-elected to the position of fire chief for a second term, sparking outrage. He was given a five- to 10-year prison sentence, which he has completed.

As for his own defense, Gilbert said he has turned his life around since the crime in 2000 and tries to do something good every day since his conviction, reported. reported that the child victim's mother doesn't believe Gilbert should be in a position where he could interact with children.

"I support the fire department and their decision to have him as chief, Wagner said, according to".

'The firemen have always elected their own officers and that's how it's always been done.

"That was 20 years ago", Gilbert said. We don't question their decisions, ' she said.

Others began to critic the people who elected him to the position. Much less fire chief where they are looked to as a refuge from harm, ' Terry Sheets wrote on Facebook.

According to Pennsylvania State Police, it is up to each individual borough, township or city to decide whether or not they will allow sex offenders who have completed their sentence to serve in an office at the local level.

After a lengthy investigation by law officials, it was determined that Gilbert forced the 4-year-old victim to give him oral sex.

"I have to live with this my whole life", he said. "This man can not be trusted".

"As fire chief, this man interacts with children", she told the newspaper.