LAKE TAPPS PILOT PLEADS GUILTY TO 35 COUNTS OF PRODUCTION OF CHILD PORNOGRAPHY, SEX TRAVELING AND OBSTRUCTION
Plea on Eve of Trial Follows Day-long Settlement Conference
WELDON MARC GILBERT, 48, of Lake Tapps, Washington, pleaded guilty yesterday evening to 35 counts of Sexual Exploitation of a Minor in the Production of Child Pornography, Transportation of a Minor to Engage in Illegal Sexual Activity and Obstruction of Justice. U.S. District Judge Ricardo S. Martinez remained at the Seattle federal courthouse into the evening hours to conduct the plea hearing, to ensure GILBERT knowingly and voluntarily entered his guilty plea. GILBERT remains detained at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac, and will be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle in Tacoma on August 17, 2009. Under the terms of the plea agreement, GILBERT must be sentenced to between 19 years and 25 years in prison. Prosecutors will ask for a 25 year prison term. The plea is also dependant upon GILBERT’s guilty plea to charges in Pierce County Superior Court. He will serve both sentences concurrently.
“With this plea agreement we ensure that Weldon Marc Gilbert will not have any access to children for a long, long time,” said U.S. Attorney Jeffrey C. Sullivan. “Resolving this case now allows the victims to continue the healing process, without reliving in court the horror Gilbert inflicted upon them when they were young boys.”
According to documents filed in the case, GILBERT’s activities first came to light in October 2007, when two brothers reported to the FBI the long term sexual abuse of their relatives by GILBERT. A court-authorized search of GILBERT’s Lake Tapps home revealed a studio-type set-up with cameras, and numerous videos showing minor boys being sexually molested and sexually spanked by GILBERT. In the plea agreement GILBERT admitted that the thirty-one videos he produced show 17 different victims, the youngest being 10, 12, 13 and 14 years-old. GILBERT pleaded guilty to two counts of Transportation of a Minor to Engage in Illegal Sexual Activity, related to trips to Canada in 2005, and 2006. On these trips GILBERT produced child pornography. Finally, the obstruction of justice charges related to his actions when he learned he was under police investigation in 2007, and after he was charged federally and was in custody in 2008. By telephone in 2007, and by letter in 2008, GILBERT tried to get one of his victims to lie about what happened in the investigation.
As part of the plea agreement, GILBERT forfeits to the government property and high end goods he used to lure his victims including his Lake Tapps property, two cars, a helicopter, a float plane, and a boat. GILBERT also forfeits camera and computer equipment. The government, in turn, agrees to seek a way to ensure that those forfeited funds go to victims who have filed civil lawsuits, rather than to the government. GILBERT waived his right to appeal the sentence imposed by the court.
The case represents a terrific example of cooperation between state prosecutors, local law enforcement, federal law enforcement, and the United States Attorney’s Office. The case was investigated by the FBI and the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department.
The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Roger Rogoff and Mike Dion.
For additional information please contact Emily Langlie, Public Affairs Officer for the United States Attorney’s Office, at (206) 553-4110.