Being a child victim is hard enough. Watching your abuser gain high professional status in your community is another thing! Not just any professional status but someone who is supposed to act as a hero and comes in direct contact with others. Even worse, the Mayor is condoning this decision!
Robert Gilbert Jr, 43, is employed in Spartansburg, Pennsylvania. Gilbert fulfilled a 5 to 10-year prison sentence for “Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.” He was charged after forcing an innocent 4-year-old girl to perform oral sex on him. He is now a registered sex offender.
photo credit: Fox News
In 2010, he started out at the fire station as an “unpaid volunteer.” He has now worked his way up to Fire Chief.
Robert told the paper, “That was 20 years ago, you know, the story you are telling kids is once you make mistake, you will be punished for the rest of your life. I’ve changed my life for the better. Every day I get up and try to do good.”
Fox News reported, “Spartansburg Mayor Ann Louise Wagner — who said she and the department have known about Gilbert’s status — said she doesn’t understand why the victim’s mother “won’t drop this.” ” I wonder if she would still feel the same way if she had a four-year-old daughter that he did this to?
Obviously, the community is beyond upset by this. Most upset of all, of course, is the victim’s mother. She questioned the fire station’s decision and expressed her concern of this man working with kids.
She was noted in the paper saying, “As fire chief, this man interacts with children. If you were in an accident, would you want this man working on your child?” Not to mention, it must be a renewed hell for the now approximately 21-year-old victim as she sees her abuser being awarded with such an admirable title.
Wagner was also quoted saying, “I support the fire department and their decision to have him as chief– The firemen have always elected their own officers and that’s how it’s always been done. We don’t question their decisions.”
The community seems to be split on this decision. Many citizens feel it’s completely inappropriate to have a sex offender work in such a role in public service, while others feel that he did his time and has paid the price for his sick act. I mean, do we really want to use tax dollars to support this guy through the Welfare system?
Tell me what you think! Should Robert Gilbert have become Fire Chief or kicked to the curb?