Religious Groups Refuse to Ordain Sex Offenders

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

A man from Indiana became an ordained minister through an independent church earlier this month. While that in itself is not headline new, the fact that he is a sex offender is. The church defended the action citing that the man has been reformed.

Roman Catholic Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the Assemblies of God and the Jehovah's Witnesses are all churches that refuse to ordain sex offenders, reformed or not. They concluded the risk of a repeat offense is serious enough that they deny the offenders the ability to access their denominations.

“If the candidate has committed a sex-related crime, he or she should be permanently disqualified” for ministry, according to United Methodist guidelines, which cite “the massive legal exposure,” as well as “the awareness that currently available treatments for such offenses are of limited utility, with high rates of recidivism.”

“My question to the church would be — why?” Fortune said in a phone interview. “If this person has been in treatment and served their time and so forth, that's fine and that's good. But as a registered sex offender, part of what they're supposed to understand about themselves is that they remain at risk to reoffend.”

She said ordaining such a person is also hurtful to people who have been sexually abused as children, particularly by clergy.

“Repentance, redemption and restoration do not mean that that person is lifted into a position of public leadership,” she said. “There are many other ways they can serve in their community and in their church that would not put them in that kind of role.”


iPhone App Promises Instant Background Checks

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

It was only a matter of time. With all the applications available for iPhone, why not an app for running an instant background check?

The free app is called "Date Check" and lets you perform a basic background check on your Friday night dinner companion. Please note, the application itself is free to download, the background check is not.

Using only your dates name or cell phone number, "Date Check" launches several searches, such as "Sleaze Detector" which looks at criminal information, and "Net Worth" which provides detail about a persons assets.

The check costs up to $40 per search, but leaves a lot to the imagination. Legitimate background checks utilize a variety of information to pull information from criminal records, a name being only one of those pieces of information. Be wary of any "instant" check that promises a lot for such a small amount of information, and then charges top dollar for it.


Bus Driver with Record of Drug Related Incidents

Monday, September 28, 2009

Who do you want driving your children to school? Brian Skoglund, 40 was hired by First Student Bus Co. in Northbrook in May. First Student apparently did not run a background check on Skoglund because if they had, they would have found that his employment records were not in good shape.

Seven months earlier, Skoglund was fired from another company for drug related incidents. Skoglund is scheduled to appear in court Oct. 27 on the child endangerment charges and driving under the influence of drugs. He was pulled over for erratic and dangerous driving on September 17 while driving a busload of 7th graders.

First Student Bus Co. claims that Skoglund offered them a letter of recommendation from his former employer, but Rigoni said that the village not only never sent a letter of recommendation, but also was never notified about Skoglund's employment with the bus company.
It is common sense to contact references and former employers for any position you are hiring for, but plain negligence when that position holds the lives of children at stake.
Even in light of Skoglund's background and last week's incident, Richmond said the bus company continues to have complete confidence in its hiring practices.

“First Student's pre-employment background checks are widely known as the most extensive in the industry and often exceed state requirements,” she stated. “The company requires each prospective driver to pass federal, state and local checks, which include criminal, employment and driving histories. In addition, prior to employment each First Student driver is subjected to a drug screening. Regular rechecks are conducted throughout an employee's tenure with the company.”


Polticians and Driving Records: Are they Relevant?

Friday, September 18, 2009

In an article for the New York Post, Phil Mushnick exploits New Jersey Gubernatorial candidate, Chris Christie's driving history as a way to tout his inability to fight crime. Governor Jon Corzine's term is up in November and Mushnick's article seems to seek to tear down the politician the challenger.

"It recently came to light that Christie, 46, has been unable his entire adult life to abide by any state's most fundamental laws. He is a habitual lawless driver...he has been nailed with at least seven speeding tickets, a pile of other moving violations...and, since 1989, he has been involved in six accidents."

Chris Christie serves as a US Attorney, but Mushnick may be taking his accusations too far, using extremist language such as "killing machine" saying the number of tickets "smacks of privilege, arrogance, and reckless endangerment," and compares the news to that of American Idol host, Paula Abdul.

He goes on to provide the details of Christie's most recent speeding ticket in 2000 and the accident in 2007 in which he was chauffeured by State police. Other violations such as seat belt violations were tauted as "cover ups."

Motor Vehicle records can be very telling in certain circumstances. At Liberty, we provide the records to numerous companies for many reasons, typically to ascertain a persons ability to operate a motor vehicle in safe manner for the company running the check. Reports typically go back approximately 3 years and serious violations are automatic dis qualifiers for positions. Very rarely are MVR reports used to ascertain the judgement or moral character of the candidate being screening. DUI records more accurately point to such abuse and reckless endangerment.

What do you think? Should a politician's driving record be taken into account when deeming whether he is fit for the job?


Liberty Screening and E-Verify

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Liberty's E-Verify service goes above and beyond the free government program. We offer support for hard questions. Sure, it's easy to verify authorized employees, but there are stringent laws employers are faced with when they are unable to confirm the candidate's authorized status. By the same token, the candidate themselves are protected under federal law. Many clients we've registered, for example, had no idea that E-Verify is never to be used a pre-screening tool. It is intended for use after-hire, and there is a small three day window in which to verify the candidate's status. Likewise, the employee cannot be terminated if E-Verify is unable to confirm their authorization. They have a time-frame to prove their authorization.

Liberty's service is step-by-step. We provide our clients with the documentation they will need to provide to the candidate, informing their new-hire of their rights and effectively reminding the hiring agent of the new-hire's rights as well.

In conjunction with our E-Verify service, we offer Electronic Form I-9's, an essential element to remain in compliance, and a total saving grace when it comes to government audits. Form I9's are filled out, signed, and stored electronically, a completely paperless and error-proof system. Any new-hire put through E-Verify must have the corresponding I9 documentation to support their status and an actual employee of the company. Liberty's services can help save companies thousands in legal fees and fines if they are ever audited.


Healthcare Reform: Illegal Immigrant Debate

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Illegal immigration was once again thrust into the national spotlight during the now infamous speech given by President Barack Obama on health care reform speech given last week has become the focus of intense scrutiny. Republican Representative, Joe Wilson's outburst, "You lie!" is the center of the attention. Wilson was addressing the President's assertion that illegal immigrants would not, under the health care bill, be able to access the government health care program.

The White House says that Obama doesn't want them to be able to buy insurance and spokesman Robert Gibbs said the White House will work with lawmakers to create language that enforces that. "Illegal immigrants would not be allowed to access the exchange that is set up," Gibbs said.

The controversy that led to Wilson's outburst was stems from the Republicans' contention that illegal immigrants would be able to get federally funded health coverage under the bill - but the bill expressly prohibits federal subsidies for illegals. Critics note, however, there are no expressly written enforcement mechanisms or language on how verification would proceed.

"Without a verification requirement it's essentially like posting a 55-mph speed limit and not having any highway patrol on the road," said Ira Mehlman, spokesman for the Federation of Immigration Reform.

It seems this is just another step in the on-going debate over illegal immigration and ways to crack down. Already, employers have been targeted and are being audited and fined for knowingly hiring illegal immigrants.


California City Regulates Mobile Vendors

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Lathrop city officials are working to pass a mobile vendor ordinance to regulate pushcarts and food wagons. The ordinance would give officials and local police to oversee the mobile vendors and require them to provide information about their equipment and merchandise. They would be subject to criminal background checks and inspections by policy. Parking hours and areas of operation would also be regulated.

Lathrop is one among a few cities nationwide opening policy to overseeing such vendors. In large cities, vendors such as these go largely unregulated and unwatched. The vendors in Lathrop will be required to pay a feed from $225 per cart. The amount of time a vendor can be in one location has increased from 10 minutes to 30 minutes.

And those mandatory criminal background checks for every vendor, a result of the unfortunate incident of a sex offender found operating an ice cream truck in Sacramento. The man was caught taking photographs of children and their homes. An ice cream truck driver who has access to children and provides those children with a false sense of security.

Mayor Kirsty Sayles said, "It's a cheaper and better way to do business and to protect the children, I can sign on to that."


Criminal Background Checks Lagging for Volunteers for Children

Monday, September 14, 2009

Criminal background checks are required in Massachusetts for any volunteer hoping to work with students, but the since the state gutted the criminal history systems board, the backlog has made it nearly impossible to process the checks.

There are only a few people to handle the tens of thousands of requests, creating a turnaround time of almost a month for checks that should take no more than three days.


Terror Watch-List to be Made Confidential

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The terrorist watch-list routinely shares information with federal, state and local agencies but the executive administration is pushing to fully privatize the list. They're concerned the public list alerts terrorists that they are being tracked, which could aid them in evading surveillance.

Officials are pushing for changes to the Information Security Act that would exempt "terrorist identity information" from disclosure.

Arguments against the protection of the list say that the government hasn't proven the necessity for a restriction and that it would make discovering and removing your name from the list much more difficult, if you were unjustly listed as a terrorist.

"Here's the problem," an official said, discussing the matter on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record. "If you've got somebody, including a suspected terrorist, who can FOIA that information, you're making intelligence-gathering methods vulnerable. You're possibly making intelligence agents and law enforcement personnel vulnerable. Suspects could alter their behavior and circumvent the surveillance."


E-Verify Works!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Human resource managers across the county are becoming accustomed to the government's E-Verify program, and they like it. "Really, it only takes maybe two extra minutes to do it," said one.

Some managers feel that the regulations surrounding the program can use some fine tuning. Liberty prides itself on being an expert on E-Verify related matters. Kelly Thames, HR manager for Dunn Roadbuilders in Laurel, MI feels that employers should be able to verify work authorization before hire. (read)

However, such verification could lead to discrimination lawsuits that could cost companies hundreds of thousands of dollars. The post-hire E-Verify law exists to protect job applicants and authorized workers nationwide. Without that protection, an applicants who had a discrepancy with their alien number, work visa, or social security number would be out of work indefinitely. The post-employment law grants those workers the right to remain employed while they clear up the matter with the Department of Homeland Security or the SSA.

E-Verify targets the employers who knowingly hire illegal workers as a means to deter illegal immigration. Contact Liberty to evaluate your company's requirements.


Fake Job References on the Rise

Thursday, September 3, 2009

As if there weren't enough side effects of the current economic climate, new companies are cropping up to help job applicants lie and get away with it. With the rise in unemployment, a more competitive job market is to be expected.

But new companies like Alibi, HQ are making it extremely difficult to weed out the falsifications. The company charges an extraordinary amount to provide professional references, employment verifications and other "discrete" services.

The success of these companies is unknown, but it isn't surprising that the market is headed this way. Many people are out of work and desperate for jobs. Desperate times lead to desperate measures.

Liberty is doing everything in our power to insure accuracy of our verifications.


Reality TV, too!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Since the debut of the smash hit, Survivor, reality TV has been a staple of the American TV consumer's diet. But mixing reality with the potential for fame and fortune is like anything else: dangerous.

VH1's recent show, Megan Wants a Millionaire, is the latest to come under scrutiny. Ryan Alexander, one of the shows participants was accused of murdering his wife, leaving her remains in suitcase inside a trash bin outside a San Diego hotel room. Her teeth and fingernails were removed.

Alexander was arrested after a manhunt on August 23, and subsequently, Megan Wants a Millionaire was cancelled. The situation raises serious concerns about the vetting process for contestants on reality TV.

In statement, the producer said, "The company did have in place what it thought was a thorough vetting process that involved complete background checks by an outside company for all contestants on its shows," it said. "Clearly, the process did not work properly in this case.”


Drug Tests Work in Cumberland County

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Cumberland County, NC high school students have been subjected to random drug testing for two years. All students who participate in extracurricular activities are expected to submit to the random tests throughout the school year.

One parish was tested in the first year of the program. Last year, the number of students tested nearly doubled. And the good news, only 5 positive results were returned of the 17 total positives from the parish on the second year of testing.

It seems, students there are getting the message. It is good news for school districts considering similar programs. Recently, hundreds of counties across the county have implemented random drug testing programs with the belief that it will deter drug use. Some citizens believe it is an invasion of privacy, but most school authorities feel it is in the best interest of the students.


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