A man who was recently re-elected as fire chief in a Pennsylvania town resigned after it emerged that he had been convicted of sexually assaulting a 4-year-old girl.
Robert Gilbert Jr. resigned as fire chief of the Spartansburg Fire Department after public outrage, with Gilbert saying he didn’t want the department to be attacked.
“My family and our community are being attacked. 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,” he told JET 24.
Gilbert Jr. has worked with the department for 25 years, starting as a volunteer and working his way up before becoming chief a year ago.
He said he has changed since his conviction, adding, ” It seems you can never do wrong and do good again.”
The outrage started after The Corry Journal began reporting the fact that Gilbert Jr. pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting a 4-year-old girl.
Gilbert Jr., 43, was convicted in 2001 of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse in exchange for authorities dropping related charges.
Gilbert Jr. has since been a registered sex offender and is on the state’s Megan’s Law database.
The fire department met Sunday and issued a statement saying, “We do not want to distract from our mission to serve,” while calling the resignation voluntary, reported The Associated Press.
Spartansburg is near the Pennsylvania border with New York state, about 110 miles north of Pittsburgh.