Federal grand jury indicts millionaire pilot

Federal grand jury indicts millionaire pilot
SEATTLE -- A federal grand jury has returned a four-count indictment for the millionaire pilot accused of years of child abused and torture.

Weldon Marc Gilbert, of Lake Tapps, was indicted on three counts of sexual exploitation of a minor in the production of child pornography and one count of transportation of a minor to engage in illegal sexual activity.

Prosecutors say the latter charge stems from evidence indicating that Gilbert took a young boy to Canada and molested him and recorded it.

Gilbert, 47, is being held at the Federal Detention Center at SeaTac. His detention hearing is set for Wednesday, Nov. 28.

"Federal law enforcement is uniquely situated to prosecute the production of child pornography, and sex crimes that cross state and international boundaries," U.S. Attorney Jeff Sullivan said.

Gilbert faces could face life in prison if convicted of all the federal charges. He is also facing several molestation and abuse charges in Pierce County.

Gilbert, a successful pilot for the United Parcel Service, is accused of sexually assaulting two young brothers and videotaping their activities together over a period of several years. The two boys, whose allegations first prompted detectives to investigate Gilbert, said they 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 last month.

Deputies said Gilbert 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.

Pierce County detectives confiscated 109 tapes and DVDs from Gilbert's home. The tapes allegedly show Gilbert brutally abusing the two brothers as well as a number of other victims.

Earlier this month, Gilbert pleaded not guilty to nine charges in connection to the two boys' allegations, including rape of a child, child molestation and sexual exploitation of a child.

Detectives are conducting a statewide search for possible victims. They said they've also been contacted by more than 10 possible victims or their family members, and expect the investigation into Gilbert to go on for months or years.

After Gilbert pleaded not guilty, attorney said he anticipates more charges to follow, though he insisted on Gilbert's innocence.

"And as far as ones of people that may be under the age of consent, I haven't seen those and I don't know. But I believe the majority of what you've been told about are DVDs and video tapes of people that are of age," said John Henry Browne, Gilbert's attorney. "I think the charges are very serious. There is no question about that. But what's been in the newspapers and the media - not your fault - but what you have been told is not true."