Meet Chief Roger Gilbert Jr. He heads up the Spartansburg Volunteer Fire Department and was recently re-elected as the town’s fire chief. Oh. Another small detail. He was a “convicted of sexual intercourse with a four-year-old girl in 2001 and completed a five to 10 year sentence for ‘involuntary deviate sexual intercourse.'”
Um…yeah. It’s easy to see why people are outraged.
The news has stirred an online outcry demanding Gilbert be removed from the position.
The victim’s mother also says Gilbert should not be in any position where he can interact with children.
Comments range from “‘No grown man that has had intercourse with a four year old should still be alive! Much less fire chief where they are looked to as a refuge from harm” to “Why is he even allowed to work in a profession where children are taught to trust and turn to them?!?! His job should NEVER allow him to be in the vicinity of children. SICK.” to “WTF!!!!!!! I don’t care if it was 50 years ago and if the person was now 100-years-old, he should never be allowed to participate in areas where he has access to children.”
However, the town’s mayor, Ann Louise Wagner, is defending the town’s decision.
‘The firemen have always elected their own officers and that’s how it’s always been done. We don’t question their decisions,’ she said.
However, the victim’s mother does not believe Gilbert should be in a post where he could interact with children after his crime in 2000 in the nearby city of Corry.
Gilbert has spoken out. It seems he believes his past should be irrelevant, because he’s a changed man.
‘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,’ he said to the Journal.
‘Every day I get up and try to do good,’ he added.
Look. I’m a big believer in redemption. Heck, as a Christian, isn’t that the story of what Christ did for us? He redeemed us. I absolutely believe that it’s possible that Gilbert found Jesus and turned his life around. However, in the world we live in, actions have consequences. You can’t expect people to forget that you committed such an unspeakable, evil crime.
I don’t think he should be allowed to serve in this capacity. I’m not saying he isn’t a changed man. I don’t truly know his heart, but I know what he did, and I wouldn’t want him around my children.
h/t Daily Mail