I have preached for so long about the dangers of cheap background checks that I feel like I am at times saying the same thing over and over again. Yes, I realize it has pinched a nerve with some sex offenders and others who are sensitive to ex-offenders based on some of the comments I have received. But I am not sure it resonates with organizations trying to keep children safe. But guess what? Right is right. If I am ruffling the feathers of sex offenders then that validates my points. And truthfully, cheap background checks are almost worse than no background checks at all.
Why? Because with no background checks you are at least aware and assuming the risk of not doing anything. However, if you have been lured into believing that a search of a sex offender registry or $10 criminal record check will keep you safe then you are operating on a false sense of security.
The sex offender registries are not and were never developed as a solution for keeping organizations safe. How could they? The compliance rates of sex offenders vary from county to county and state to state.
I know people who check to see how many sex offenders live around them. Realistically, you could have a sex offender living right next door with a boyfriend, girlfriend, friend or family member and never know it. Because they do not list your neighbors address as their permanent address.
How many law enforcement agencies or probation departments have the time or manpower to ensure sex offender registration compliance? Very few. It is not a priority.
There are estimates that as many as 100,000 sex offenders are “lost” and unaccounted for across the U.S. (Waging War on Sex Crimes). So we would be foolish to rely on these registries as a tool for keeping our children safe.
In addition to lack of compliance and oversight, the sex offender registries are often out-dated or incomplete. Some states only require certain classifications of sex offenders to register. Other states allow them to fall off the registry after 10 years.
And if the crime pre-dated the sex offender registry, guess what? The courts have upheld that the sex offender is not required to register.
This brings me to a recent example of how a failure in the sex offender registry allowed a convicted sex offender to harm 4 young girls aged 8-12 by forcing them to have sexual intercourse, oral sex and to perform acts on each other. When this story splashed on the evening news I ground my teeth together to prevent me from screaming and waking my children.
Pure anger. I have no tolerance for injustice and the loss of innocence for children.
Sex offender Willaim Everage is out of prison and preying on children again. Everage is actually listed on the Indiana Sex Offender Registry. However, his residence is listed as the Indiana Department of Corrections.
The last update for Everage was 2006. Yes, almost 6 years ago.
My heart breaks for those innocent little girls. Would an updated registry have prevented this? No way of knowing. But it does expose the limitations of the sex offender registries.
So I turn my anger to prevention as I have done for the past 20 years. I encourage you to take the time to research the cheap background checks that saturate the background screening industry. Please avoid the lure of a free search of the sex offender registries or a $10 so-called “national” criminal background check.
If it seems too good to be true, it is. Cheap background checks are no match for sex offenders.
If you are ready to do background screening correctly, contact us today.