Making Sure Sex Offenders Don't Dodge Elude Background Checks

Sex offenders are not the most welcome employees with most employers.   While some employers we talk to believe that sex offenders should be given a second chance and that consideration for a position should be based on their talents and not their sex offenders, others believe quite the opposite.

Certain  employers believe sex offenders are toxic to the workplace environment.    I tend to agree.   Office morale is often diminished and there is often undue focus placed on the sex offender.   Few want to deal with him, especially if his offenses involve minors, and there is often the risk the offender will suffer physical or psychological injury.   In certain situations, disgruntled employees will resort to workplace violence of find some other way to make the sex offender's employment experience as miserable as possible.

People may deserve a second chance.  With sex offenders, especially those who have preyed on children, recidivist rates are often significant.    As for whether there is a "cure" or not, I really can't say.  Some say yes, while others don't believe there is reliable treatment.

I would also point out that there is a notable difference between, say, a young man who is over eighteen who has sex with his sixteen year old girlfriend, only to discover her parents seek retribution.  In such cases, it may be unfair that he was labeled a sex offender for having consensual sex with a girlfriend a few years younger than he.    Clearly, sex offenses are not all black and white cases.    But many cases are just that, black and white with no real shades of gray.  A child molester should not be afforded the luxury of moral equivalence or ambiguousness.   This is someone who preyed on a child.

We have seen such cases and more like it.   Small wonder that such criminal acts are found repugnant and cause dissonance in the typical workplace environment.   Other employees think, it could have been my kid.  A natural reaction.

I remember one instance where we found a sex offender that had applied for a job with the city.   He was to clean the city parks, an environment frequented by children.  His sex offenses were against minors.   Children, as a matter of fact.   When he  turned up as a registered sex offender in a different state than where he was applying for work, the human resources director asked why he hadn't divulged this information.   The answer was, " he was trying to make a new start."

According to WZVN, a n ABC Television affiliate int he Fort Meyers area,  a Collier County Fair worker has been arrested and charged with failing to register as a sex offender in Florida.  His arrest is a consequence of a background check of workers scheduled to staff the event.   There was an outstanding warrant for probation violation as well.   As I noted earlier, sex offenders will move around from state to state to avoid detection.  In the hopes  of find work, and possibly new victims, mobility is an excellent defense mechanism, keeping them free from the ire of their neighbors and former fellow employees.

That is why it is incumbent to conduct a nationwide sex offender background check as part of an employment screening program.   Even if your employment candidate has lived for a significant period of time,  he may be there to evade warrants, charges, or admonitions elsewhere.   I would not go as far to say this is a common practice, but at the same time this practice is not entirely uncommon other.   Better that the employer know up front if its job applicant is a sex offender, before other employees learn it through the grapevine.

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