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Man pleads guilty to raping two boys he babysat

By Cory Shaffer • Dec 5, 2017 at 10:10 PM

CLEVELAND (TNS) — A Lakewood man accused of raping two children he babysat was sentenced to nearly three decades in prison Tuesday as part of a deal with prosecutors that allowed him to avoid a possible life sentence.

Thomas Gilman, 21, pleaded guilty to three counts of rape and disseminating matter harmful to juveniles on Tuesday, the day he was set to begin trial on multiple counts of rape, kidnapping and sexual battery.

As part of the plea, Gilman agreed to serve 28 years in prison. He will also be required to register as a Tier III sex offender when he is released.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court Judge Kelly Ann Gallagher accepted the plea and sentenced him immediately.

The boys' parents signed off on the deal before Monday's hearing, Cuyahoga County Prosecutor's Office spokeswoman Kathleen Caffrey said.

Gilman said in court Monday that he could not find an explanation for his behavior.

"My parents are trying to decide how they can love a monster," Gilman told Gallager in court, according to his attorney, Kevin Spellacy.

Gilman babysat for a Fairview Park family that was known to his parents, including his father, Lakewood Fire Chief Scott Gilman, Fairview Park police said.

Gilman's abuse of the boys was uncovered in June when a 13-year-old boy told his mother that he walked in on Gilman molesting the boy's 8-year-old brother in their Fairview Park house, according to court records.

Gilman tried to bribe the older brother not to confess to what he witnessed, records say.

But the boy eventually came forward, when he became so overwhelmed during guitar lessons that he called his mother to pick him up, and he told her what happened, records say.

The mother then talked to the younger boy, who told her that Gilman would play a game where Gilman pulled a wool winter cap over the boy's eyes and raped him.

Gilman called the game "playing Play-Doh," court records say.

The abuse started in 2014, when the boy was 6 years old.

Fairview Park police uncovered evidence that Gilman had also sexually abused the boy's 3-year-old brother in April.

Gilman admitted to sexually abusing the child in his interview with police, and had planned to accept responsibility for his actions in court since his arrest, Spellacy said.

Rocky River police talked Gilman off of a bridge on Hilliard Boulevard the morning before he was set for arraignment in September.

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