How many times are we going to blame the victims? Oh, yes, I am sorry, alleged victims. Innocent until proven guilty. Every time I publish an article on the importance of background checks for employment, I receive a flood of comments on the legal standard in the U.S. Presumably by people with criminal records.
So the alleged offender is innocent until proven guilty, however, we can destroy the victim. Discrediting alleged victims has always been a normal practice.
Why? Because it discourages them from testifying. It encourages them to recant or disappear.
I have spent the past 20 years working inside the criminal justice system as a violent crime detective and outside as a consultant. So I really do not want to hear any of the innocent-because-they-have-never-been-charged-with-a-crime stuff. There are far more criminals walking free because of a criminal justice system that does not serve victims than innocent people serving time in prison. Both are a tragedy.
Domestic violence and sexual assault are the two most committed and least reported crimes in the U.S. How do I know? Look at the research. Only 6% of rapists will ever spend a day in jail (RAINN). Yes, that means that 15 out of 16 rapists walk free (RAINN).
I also know that Roy Hazelwood, pioneer in FBI personality profiling of sex offenders, surveyed 41 sex offenders and found:
- Each offender had committed between 10-78 crimes
- Combined total of 837 known rapes
- Combined total of 400 attempted rapes
Look at how many lives have been destroyed by this small pool of sex offenders. Does that blow your socks off? It better.
Now, as I digest my 15 minutes of morning news, how should I react to these headlines:
- Band teacher jailed on child seduction charges. Band teacher had “inappropriate” and “ongoing” contact with two young girls 14 and 16.
- Wrestling coach arrested for child molestation, child pornography. Charged with 5 counts of child molesting and 10 counts of child pornography.
- Syracuse Sex Scandal
- Penn State Sex Scandal
Did I mention I was making breakfast and not really looking for news?
Do you see the similarities in these cases? Every single one of these alleged perpetrators is in a position that grants them access to children.
Yes, I have read some of the discrediting comments in the news on some of the victims. Yes, I understand some have been in trouble with the law themselves.
Let’s be honest, not all victims are Betty Crocker. Does the law require victims to be squeaky clean? No, but I do know from experience that if the victim is squeaky clean then it is more likely charges will be filed.
Do you think the Jerry Sandusky’s of the world understand this? Hello, he founded The Second Mile to “help” troubled youth. How convenient.
Kids are vulnerable to the grooming and manipulations of these predators. And troubled youth are extremely vulnerable and present a great target because they often come from dysfunctional families that lack a support structure for uncovering the harm. They are vulnerable because they are seeking approval and validation. And these predators know how to exploit these vulnerabilities AND organizations.
We also know that children who witness violence or who are physically or sexually assaulted have a much higher likelihood of perpetrating crimes. So are we shocked that victims that step forward years after the abuse might have a trail of addictions or a record? We shouldn’t be.
What really scares me is so many organizations that work with children have no earthly idea how to do comprehensive background checks for employment that include reference checks. They have no idea how many sex offenders want inside their organization and what it takes to keep them out.
Yesterday morning a very large school district said they have decided to stay with their current screening program even though ours is “more extensive” because their current process is “sufficient with minimal cost”.
Sufficient and minimal cost is what a sex offender views as the path of least resistance.
Are you an organization that places safety and security as a top priority? If so, we want to partner with you and take your background screening program to the next level. We only work with organizations that are committed to doing background screening correctly.
Contact us today to get started.