Man at center of 30-year-old foster child rape case argues statute of limitations has expired

An Allegheny County judge blasted the handling of a foster child rape case first exposed by Target 11′s Rick Earle.

Police charged a man with raping his foster child three decades ago. His ex-wife was also charged.

On Thursday, attorneys argued over dates, times and even the point at which the suspect was identified. In the end, the judge said he will issue a ruling at a later date, calling what happened decades ago a catastrophic failure.

Carlina Freeman broke her silence last year to Target 11, saying she was repeatedly raped and then impregnated by her foster father at the age of 13. She eventually told her Child-Youth Services worker. A paternity test confirmed that Carl Gilbert was the father and he acknowledged in a court order that he was responsible for the child.

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Gilbert was never charged. CYF officials declined to comment, and former investigators couldn’t recall much of the case.

“What happened in the 90s is nothing short of a catastrophic failure as to what transpired here,” Judge Bruce Beemer said in court Thursday.

After Target 11′s report, Allegheny County Police launched an investigation. Gilbert and his ex-wife, Matilda Omiecinski, were charged with sexual abuse crimes.

Gilbert’s attorney argued the statute of limitations expired five years after Freeman’s 18th birthday and the charges should be dropped. Prosecutors contend that Gilbert wasn’t identified as the father until the paternity test in June 1998, and they contend the case still falls within the statute of limitations.

Judge Beemer had plenty of questions for the prosecution but said he’ll make a final written decision at a later date. The trial for both Gilbert and Omiecinski is scheduled for April. The judge’s ruling could have a major effect on that.