Millionaire pilot accused of child rape

Millionaire pilot accused of child rape
PIERCE COUNTY -- The FBI has arrested a Lake Tapps man accused of sexually assaulting and torturing young boys while videotaping the abuse.

Agents arrested Weldon Marc Gilbert on Thursday at the Atlanta Hilton Hotel, where he was attending a conference.

Sheriff's detectives said Gilbert, a successful commercial pilot and millionaire, abused at least 20 children over the years.

Deputies said 47-year-old Gilbert, who works for the United Parcel Service, did all he could to lure new children to his house, including decorating rooms with children's themes. Detectives call Gilbert's home a house of horrors, stating the rooms were often the places where children were spanked and molested.

"We believe he met these kids by paying them money to do yard work and side jobs, and met them at the airport and through different people," said Sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer.

Once the he had gotten the children to his house, he would get them drunk, tie them down and beat them, all with the camera rolling, detectives said.

"He gave them alcohol. We don't know if there's drugs involved," said Troyer. "He had rooms specifically designated for this. He was an intelligent man. He was a wealthy man. He put all of those things together, and he was able to do what he needed to do to get what he wanted."

Investigators said the footage shows little boys crying out during the especially malicious attacks with his hands or an assortment of paddles. The beatings often left welts, bruises and cuts on the victims who were as young as 12 years old, detectives said.

"Sex abuse and some of the things that are in here are pretty heinous on their own, but (there is also) the torture and the fear that he's put into people," Troyer said.

Charging papers state detectives learned of the abuse when Gilbert's latest victims, two brothers who were living at Gilbert's home, came forward. The boys, who are not Gilbert's sons, said they had met Gilbert six years ago shortly after their father died.

The older of the two boys, then 12, said Gilbert sometimes took him on trips abroad and began frequently spanking and molesting him. He said the abuse has been ongoing since until as recent as earlier this week.

The boy said he and his younger brother have been living with Gilbert for the past few months, during which time Gilbert also began attacking the younger boy, who is now 12.

Allegations of abuse surfaced when two grown siblings of the boys recently grew suspicious of the boys' relationship with Gilbert and questioned the boys, the documents state. When they realized the boys were being abused, the siblings contacted police.

"He got caught because one brave person came forward to tell us what was happening, and in the long run that's going to save a lot of other people from becoming victims," said Troyer.

A search of Gilbert's home turned up dozens of child porn tapes, DVDs, CDs, floppy disks, sex toys, paddles, cameras, computers, bondage implements and two handguns.

The warrant for Gilbert included charges for rape of a child in custody, six counts of third-degree rape of a child, two counts of child molestation and two counts of sexual exploitation of a child.

Gilbert's neighbor across the street said from a distance, the man seemed friendly enough.

"He's quiet. I don't see him very often," said Denise Lo, a neighbor.

Lo said Gilbert did keep a lot of company.

"Mostly teenage boys, and they would come and go. I assumed that they were friends of the two boys that lived there," she said.

Gilbert is currently in Atlanta. He has waived extradition and is waiting to return to Washington state.

Detectives expect more victims to come forward.