Guilty plea from pilot will apply at state too

A Lake Tapps pilot who pleaded guilty to 35 federal child-sex charges also will plead guilty to similar crimes in state court as part of a joint plea bargain, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Seattle said Friday.

Weldon Marc Gilbert, 48, will serve both his sentences at the same time under terms of the deal, which were made public Friday. Federal prosecutors intend to ask for a sentence of 25 years when Gilbert is sentenced Aug. 17.

He originally was charged in state court, but that case was put on hold while federal authorities prosecuted him. In 2007, he pleaded not guilty in Pierce County Superior Court to nine crimes, including child rape, child molestation and sexual exploitation of a minor.

On Thursday, he pleaded guilty to 35 federal counts and agreed to make a plea deal with state prosecutors, too.

According to federal court records, over several years, Gilbert sexually abused 17 boys, one as young as 10. Evidence, including videotapes found at his house, indicates he paddled many of the boys and touched them sexually.

Federal prosecutors contended he used his position as a wealthy pilot to lure boys to his home and convince them to take part in sexual activity.

Pierce County prosecutors will seek Gilbert’s guilty plea to “multiple offenses, the most serious of which will be child molestation in the first degree,” according to a memorandum from deputy prosecutor Patrick Hammond to assistant U.S. Attorney Roger Rogoff.

Pierce County will not seek to convict Gilbert of child rape, Hammond added.

He will recommend a sentence of 1612 years in prison and will agree that it be served concurrently with his federal sentence, the memo states.

A change-of-plea hearing has not yet been scheduled in state court.

Federal prosecutors also announced Friday that they will work to ensure that proceeds from the sale of property seized from Gilbert – including a boat, helicopter and float plane – are used to compensate his victims.

Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644