Lake Tapps pilot sentenced for sexually torturing young boys
A federal judge today sentenced a millionaire Lake Tapps pilot to 25 years in prison for sexually torturing and molesting more than a dozen young boys.
Seattle Times staff reporter
TACOMA — A federal judge today sentenced a millionaire Lake Tapps pilot to 25 years in prison for sexually torturing and molesting more than a dozen young boys.
Weldon Marc Gilbert, 49, tearfully apologized to his victims, two of whom spoke during his sentencing hearing. Before issuing the sentence, U.S. District Judge Richard Settle said Gilbert had "a huge debt to pay" for his crimes.
Gilbert had pleaded guilty in April to 31 counts of production of child pornography, two counts of transporting a minor across state lines to engage in sexual activity and two counts of obstruction of justice. The pleas came just days before Gilbert was scheduled to be tried in U.S. District Court.
Prosecutors said Gilbert, a former pilot for UPS, used his wealth to attract and groom his young victims by giving them airplane rides and taking them on exotic trips.
In a sentencing memo, prosecutors wrote that Gilbert remains "incapable of real remorse" for the damage he did to at least 17 boys as young as 10, and that he repeatedly described his actions as "harmless fun." He even wrote a letter to the parents of two of his victims, saying he had fallen in love with their sons.
Prosecutors say Gilbert videotaped many of his victims, and that the worst videos show him spanking or caning them until their bare bottoms were bruised and blistered.
As part of a plea agreement, Gilbert forfeits to the government his Lake Tapps property, two cars, a helicopter, a float plane and a boat. The forfeited items will be sold and the proceeds will be placed in a fund for the benefit of the victims, according to the U.S. Attorney's Office.
Gilbert arrested on Nov. 1, 2007, two days after two men reported that he had molested their younger brothers, ages 13 and 18, according to state and federal court documents.
The 18-year-old said he met Gilbert when he was 12, after his father died, and that he had been living with Gilbert for the past several months, court papers said. The man said that since 2001 Gilbert had spanked him, leaving welts, cuts and bruises on his body.
The 18-year-old said that Gilbert had a "special darkroom" in his Lake Tapps home where he "molests, ties up and spanks children for sexual purposes," according to federal court papers. The alleged victim told federal investigators there is a switch in the room that allows Gilbert to turn on lights and a camera. Court papers said the 18-year-old stole sex tapes of himself and his younger brother with Gilbert, and his older brothers turned the tapes over to investigators.
Information from The Associated Press and Seattle Times archives is included in this report
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