Wealthy Lake Tapps pilot Weldon Marc Gilbert has plead guilty in Pierce County Superior Court today to multiple charges of second- and third-degree child molestation as his jury trial was set to begin.
He admitted to the charges to save his victims from having to testify against him, Gilbert said in court, but Pierce County Superior Judge Katherine Stolz sentenced the 52-year-old man to 10 years in state prison, to be served consecutively to a 25-year sentence Gilbert received for similar crimes in federal court.
In 2007, a teen boy reported to police that Gilbert had molested him inside his Lake Tapps home. A police investigation revealed more teenage victims, lured to trust the adult man through rides in his boat and helicopter. Gilbert allegedly supplied the teens with alcohol before engaging in sexual conduct and paddling them, which he allegedly videotaped. Investigators recovered 400 hours of video on 123 tapes, seized from Gilbert's home.
Gilbert pleaded guilty in 2009 to sex crimes, but withdrew that plea when he was told the sentence could mean life in prison. He also pleaded guilty in federal court to producing child pornography and received a 25-year sentence.
The Lake Tapps man made national headlines last year when he decided to serve as his own lawyer and was allowed to view the footage recovered from his home.
In today’s hearing, Stolz told Gilbert the court doesn’t believe him remorseful, after dragging out the case for nearly three years, even when he knew the videotapes would convict him.