How to Screen for the Undetected Sexual Predator

How to Screen for the Undetected Sexual Predator Did you know that 80% of sexual predators in the United States do NOT have a criminal record?

Seriously? How could that be?

There a number of reasons some of the most violent offenders in our country are still walking the streets. Are still working as school teachers. Are still volunteering in your youth programs. Are still working as a youth pastor in your church. Are still providing legal counsel. Are still working as a police officer. Are still working as a prosecutor.

They have NO criminal history!

The most common reasons for this are:

  • The criminal justice system does not understand the victim of sexual assault. We are still a culture that is fond of victim blaming. “If you weren’t drinking…” “If you weren’t hanging out at…” “If you weren’t wearing…”

As a former violent crime detective, I have heard all of this from fellow police officers, prosecutors and even social workers. I have also traveled all over the world working with communities to end violence against women and children. And I have never encountered a law that said it was justified to rape someone if they were wearing the wrong clothing, drinking or using substance or hanging out in a place their mother would not approve.

The criminal justice system prefers that our victims all fit into a category of Betty Crocker. Research also confirms that a victim is more likely to have their case prosecuted if they had not been using drugs or alcohol, did not wear anything promiscuous and did not engage in any kind of risky behavior.

  • Society does not understand sexual violence. We believe that sexual predators are always strangers, who operate at night on the other side of town. Research confirms that more than 80% of sex offenders (4 out of 5) are known to the victim. They are spouses, former spouses, teachers, family members, neighbors, etc.
  • Victims of sexual assault do not report the crime. There are a number of valid reasons a victim might not report the crime.


  • The criminal justice is less than “user friendly”. Victims have described the “interrogation” by the law enforcement as being as traumatic as the rape.
  • The rapists is known to the victim. If I am a child, this might be my primary caregiver. Or I was told I would be killed for reporting. Or something bad would happen to me. Or I am dependent on them financially. Or they are in a position of power and will be believed over me.
  • Trauma. The crime is so violent that I literally block it from my consciousness.

So how does this impact criminal background screening?

Significantly if you are relying exclusively on a criminal record check to keep sexual predators away from your children. You already are losing the battle.

We can only block 20% of sex offenders from our organization with criminal background checks. We must adopt other screening procedures to detect the other 80% of sex offenders with no records.

One of the best screening solutions is the reference check. Communicate with people who know your candidates.

That seems so simplistic, I know. The problems with traditional phone-based reference checks is:

  • We don’t have the time.
  • We don’t have the resources to call 3 references on all of our volunteers.
  • We can never get references to call us back.
  • They take too long.
  • The information provided is reduced to “name, rank and serial number” by corporate policies.

The great news is there is a way to conduct high quality reference checks, quickly, cheaply and without any labor.

We have recently released RapidRefCheck in version two. RapidRefCheck is a candidate-driven automated software program. That means your candidates enter their references. The system sends the surveys to the reference and provides all of the reminders and then collects and scores the data in easy to read reports

Join us for a webinar to see how RapidRefCheck can help you keep undetected sex offenders out of your organization: