First, let me apologize because my headline isn’t completely accurate. Roger Gilbert Jr, listed above as chief of Pennsylvania’s Spartansburg Volunteer Fire Department in 2016 and recently re-elected, was NOT convicted of raping a four-year-old girl. What he was actually convicted of is IDSI, or involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. According to legal websites, in Pennsylvania “IDSI differs from rape by encompassing more sex acts, including penetration with foreign objects or sex with an animal.”
Chief Gilbert is a convicted felon and registered sex offender. Here’s his entry from the Pennsylvania State Police Megan’s Law Website:
The crime occurred in 2000 in a town about eight miles from the firehouse. Not only is the fire department okay with the chief’s past, but as you will see in the news coverage below, so is the mayor of Spartansburg.
This story was picked up today (Saturday) by the Associated Press and is now starting to populate news websites across the country. It’s an understatement to say this is not a good look for the fire service. Will a national spotlight on this situation have any impact?
The Spartansburg Volunteer Fire chief, who was just re-elected into his position for 2018, is a registered sex offender for crimes he committed to a 4-year-old female victim.
Roger L. Gilbert Jr., 43, of Spartansburg, is listed on the Pennsylvania Megan’s Law database for a first-degree felony offense of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse. The crime took place on Sept. 3, 2000, in the city of Corry and Gilbert was convicted on Aug. 7, 2001. He was given a five- to 10-year prison sentence, which he has completed.
Mayor Ann Louise Wagner says she and firefighters have been aware Gilbert, an unpaid volunteer with the department since 2010, is a sex offender.
The 43-year-old unpaid volunteer tells the Journal he has changed his life for the better and now spends “every day helping people.”