Child molester’s controversial right of review influenced change in state law

Weldon Marc Gilbert, 52, of Lake Tapps, on Nov. 6 pleaded guilty to 14 counts of child molestation and was sentenced to nearly 10 years in prison, to be served consecutively to the 25-year sentence he received in federal court in 2009 for possession of child pornography.

Through the deal, Gilbert maintains his innocence, but admits guilty to lessor charges of second- and third-degree child molestation to avoid a trial on more serious charges that could have led to life in prison, a move known as a Alford’s Plea

The defendant was a wealthy commercial pilot who was arrested in 2007 after an investigation revealed he had sexually assaulted and tortured dozens of boys in a “sex dungeon” in his Lake Tapps home. The defendant lured the boys with money, alcohol, homework help and flying lessons. He also allegedly then made videos of himself sexually assaulting the victims.

The three-year court case gained repeated media attention, including when the court ruled that the defendant, acting as his own attorney, had the right to review all evidence against him, including the child pornography he produced.

The courts ruled in his favor, but state law has since been changed.

During the hearing, Superior Court Judge Katherine Stolz chastised Gilbert for dragging the case out, though he knew he would be convicted and then refuted the defendant’s apology during the sentencing hearing and criticized his attempts to minimize his crimes.

“The bottom line is you are a pedophile, an extreme deviant,” Stolz said, according to a press release.

“Our goal in this case has always been to hold Mr. Gilbert accountable for the sexual assaults he committed in Pierce County,” said Pierce County Prosecutor Mark Lindquist in a press release following the deal. “Today we did. The victims are pleased with this result. The defendant should be serving 35 years in total, and he’s been held accountable for both his federal crimes and his state crimes.”