A Pennsylvania fore chief was elected to his position, despite being a registered sex offender. Bryan Smith/GETTY

A Pennsylvania man who was convicted of a sex crime and registered as a sex offender became a fire company’s chief with the mayor’s approval.

Roger L. Gilbert Jr. was re-elected to his second term as the chief of the volunteer fire department in the small town of Spartansburg, located in northwest Pennsylvania. The chief is elected by the other volunteer firefighters.

Gilbert was convicted in 2001 of a first-degree felony for involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a 4-year-old. The crime was committed in 2000 in nearby Corry, Pennsylvania.

Spartanburg's mayor defended the election.

“I support the fire department and their decision to have him as chief,” Mayor Ann Louise Wagner told the Corry Journal Saturday. “The firemen have always elected their own officers and that's how it's always been done. We don't question their decisions.”

Firefighters were aware that Gilbert was a registered sex offender. Gilbert has been an unpaid volunteer firefighter with the company since 2010, according to the Associated Press.

Gilbert told the Corry Journal that he has turned over a new leaf.

“That was 20 years ago. You know, the story you are telling kids is once you make mistake, you will be punished for the rest of your life. I’ve changed my life for the better. Every day I get up and try to do good,” said Gilbert.

The victim's mother spoke to the Corry Journal and questioned the decision of allowing Gilbert to serve as chief.

“If you were in an accident, would you want this man working on your child?” she asked.