PITTSBURGH — Carl Gilbert has been charged with rape and endangering the welfare of a child in Cleveland, Ohio, 20 years ago. His adopted son, Joe Gilbert, went to Cleveland police last year and told them he was sexually assaulted between the ages of 11 and 15.
“I’m just really happy that they’re going to go ahead and move forward with this. There was a point in time when I thought a lot of people didn’t believe me,” said Joe Gilbert, during an interview from his home with Target 11 investigator Rick Earle.
Joe Gilbert said he was motivated to come forward after a Target 11 investigation revealed that his aunt, Carlina Freeman, had allegedly been raped and impregnated by Carl Gilbert 30 years previously in McKeesport, when she was only 14. Freeman told Target 11 that Gilbert began molesting her years earlier.
“I was molested beginning at the age of nine,” Freeman told Earle last year.
Freeman said she initially lied to authorities but eventually told her Children, Youth and Families caseworker.
Still, she said no charges were ever filed against Gilbert, who was in his late 20s at the time.
Freeman also provided Target 11 with a court order indicating that Carl Gilbert was the biological father, along with a DNA test proving it.
Based on our reporting, Allegheny County police launched a criminal investigation last year and ultimately filed sex assault charges against both Carl Gilbert and his ex-wife, Matilda.
Prosecutors believed that the case fell within the statute of limitations and they would have no trouble proceeding to court.
Defense attorneys filed a motion to dismiss all charges, claiming the statute of limitations began the day Carl Gilbert allegedly assaulted Freeman.
Prosecutors argued that it didn’t begin until Carl Gilbert was identified in the court order and the paternity test as the biological father.
In the end, Judge Bruce Beemer agreed with the defense and dismissed all charges.
The judge, in his order dismissing the charges, admonished the system for allegedly failing to investigate the case involving Carlina Freeman 30 years previously.
“The number of failures perpetrated...defies common understanding and is beyond comprehension. The history of this case....demonstrates an appalling lack of oversight by the very agencies in charge of protecting against abuse,” wrote Judge Beemer.
Joe Gilbert told Earle that he hopes the new charges involving his allegations in Ohio will ease the pain for his aunt.
“She’s been with me by my side through this all. So that will help her as well, and it’ll help me and we can come together on this and hopefully get justice for both of us,” said Joe Gilbert.
Earle did speak by phone with Carlina Freeman, who is still in the Pittsburgh area. She told Earle she’s relieved that the new charges were filed in Cleveland and she hopes that justice is served.
Carl Gilbert is scheduled to appear in court in Cleveland later this month.
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