“My family and our community are being attacked,” Gilbert told Jet 24, a local news outlet. “I didn’t want that to continue. All I have done for 18 years is good things. But outsiders are tearing us up. I felt the best thing to do was back away.”
As of yesterday, Spartansburg Mayor Ann Louise Wagner stood by the fire department’s decision to reelect Gilbert, 43, to a second term as chief, admitting that she and his fellow firefighters were aware that Gilbert completed a five-to-10-year sentence for his crime, the Corry Journal reported.
Gilbert is featured on the Megan’s Law website as a “Tier 3” offender, requiring lifetime registration for his crime.
“The firemen have always elected their own officers and that’s how it’s always been done, Mayor Wagner told the Journal. “We don’t question their decisions.”
The mother of Gilbert’s victim spoke out against his reelection, saying that she didn’t think he should be allowed to hold a position that could lead to him interacting with children. He has been with the fire department since 2010, serving one term as chief.
“It seems you can never do wrong and do good again,” Gilbert said of the backlash he’s faced.
Spartansburg, a small town in northwestern Pa., has a population of about 300