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Published On: Fri, Jul 15th, 2011

Weldon Marc Gilbert, prisoner allowed to watch child porn in prison

A Washington state inmate is now at the epicenter of a bizarre legal battle which allows the man to view child porn while in jail.

Weldon Marc Gilbert, convicted on charges of child rape, child molestation and sexual exploitation, have been granted access yo child pornography in prison because, acting as his own lawyer, Gilbert is allowed to view all of the evidence in the trial. This evidence consists of child pornography.

public domain pic from May 4 1916

Gilbert created more than 100 videos of the boys, sometimes turning the camera on himself. Gilbert was found to have offered boys alcohol, money and flying lessons before sexually assaulting them.

In 2009, he pleaded guilty in federal court to 31 counts of producing child pornography involving 17 victims and was sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Gilbert was found to have offered boys alcohol, money and flying lessons before sexually assaulting them.

 

Pending another trial, Gilbert is permitted to view the evidence, watching the pornographic videos as often as he likes. Officials say that any restrictions could result in a mistrial.

“It’s absurd and maddening,” said Mark Lindquist, the prosecutor for Pierce County, which includes Tacoma, where the state trial is to begin Sept. 19. While defendants normally can view evidence against them, Lindquist said, they are not usually allowed to possess it, particularly when it is contraband like pornography.

“Defense attorneys typically ask to see some portion of the pornography that will be used as evidence, review a nominal amount of it and leave,” Lindquist said. “I have never had a case where a defense attorney wanted to possess the pornography. We don’t turn cocaine over to defendants for them to personally check out.”

Many state legislators have vowed to change the law but they cannot do so in time to affect Gilbert’s case. Lindquist said his office would draft language that would “pass constitutional muster,” though he expects challenges from defense lawyers concerned about the rights of defendants.

Gilbert, 50, who flew for U.P.S., is speaking out from behind bars.

He attacked Lindquist for drawing attention to the bizarre nature of the case: “Who, beside yourself, benefits from the second round of prosecution?” Gilbert asked of the prosecutor.

In response, Mr. Lindquist said he did not give “a free pass” to criminals just because they were already serving time.

“This whole issue should have never happened,” Gilbert told KOMO. “I caused it. I’m guilty of it. I truly wish I could have taken it back. What I saw is a lot of fun, reliving the teenage years, absolutely loving my time around these young men.”

But, he added, “Wrong behavior, shameful behavior is not necessarily the same as illegal behavior that deserves a life prison sentence.”

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- Stories transferred over from The Desk of Brian where the original author was not determined and the content is still of interest of Dispatch readers.

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