Criminal Employees Slipping through the Cracks

criminal employee falls through the cracksOne might think that the Capitol Police Department would know enough about criminals, persons of risk and habitual liars to avoid placing them on their staff. But last year, halfway through a 12-week training period, fifteen newly-hired recruits were asked to return to DC and resign—or be fired. The problem? They had either lied on their application, failed a criminal background check, or failed a psychological examination—but were hired anyway!

Despite what the Capitol Police describe as a “stringent recruiting process,” including a written exam, application review, interviews, background investigation, polygraph, medical exam and psychological evaluation, each of the fifteen recruits had made it through the hiring process. The result? Not only was the HR Director fired, but also affected were the fifteen families that had been relocated from all over the country. Fortunately, even more damage was prevented by the forced resignations—who knows what could have resulted from hiring these fifteen officers?

In another case, an adult home in Virginia was ordered to pay $750,000 to a disabled resident after he was sexually assaulted by a Certified Nursing Assistant employed there. The CNA had a criminal history before he was hired, and continued to rack up charges, including assault and battery and public intoxication while working for the facility.

Another scary example includes a teacher hired to teach middle school in Nashville, TN, even though he had been suspended from another Tennessee school system after allegations surfaced that he was engaging in misconduct with minors. Even more shocking is the fact that the teacher was hired despite having outstanding warrants for his arrest on sexual battery and rape charges. Not surprisingly, at the new middle school, he was accused of additional crimes involving two 14 and 15 year old students.

Hiring employees is no easy task; there are many risks involved, too.  Employers must take every available precaution when hiring staff, especially when the safety and well-being of at-risk populations, children, and the public are hanging in the balance. The lack of proper background screening in each of the above cases resulted in serious consequences for the employers—and unnecessary suffering for the innocent victims.

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