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Free Background Check Resources: Iowa News

Two Background Checks are Better Than One

The Executive Director of the Boys and Girls Clubs (BGC) of the Mississippi Valley is in the hot seat today. In spite of her reassurances as to their serious approach to candidate pre-employment screening, a former program aide in Davenport, IA was arrested for alleged inappropriate physical contact with three children under the age of ten.

The Boys and Girls Clubs is a reputable nationwide organization, and the incident cannot be blamed on their oversight. Their hiring process is very stringent. Every candidate undergoes a background check, as well as a thorough training and orientation program that spells out what is expected of the employees who have direct daily contact with children.

Parents certainly agree with the hiring process that includes a routine background check for every counselor and teacher, but unfortunately everyone acknowledges that accidental oversights may happen. In many cases, the child predator may still be too young to have a criminal record or was careful not to get caught. At least, now that he will have a record, his career in child care is definitely over.

The branch of the BGC in question has been serving the Quad Cities for over 15 years. They've never had such an incident in the past, and are determined to make the scandal the last one ever. The statement from the Executive Director promises to tighten the hiring process wherever possible. Parents are also encouraged to support the efforts of child care providers and subject every new teacher or counselor to a private background check that is easy to perform online at home. Together, we may be more successful at weeding out all child predators.


Mandatory Background Checks for ALL Child Centers in Iowa

Lately, the Anchor Character Training Center in rural Iowa, and consequently all other similar establishments, have attracted serious attention of State legislators. The reason for all that interest? The Center is run by Harvest Baptist Church. Lately, in some people's minds, that is enough to suggest corruption and threatened child safety, while others still place their trust in the highest authority.

As far as the Senators and State Reps are concerned, separation of Church and State places the responsibility for every child's safety on their shoulders. That is excellent news, demonstrating how seriously the government is finally taking the safety of all children. Why now? Recently, the community found out that a registered sex offender was living in the coed facility for troubled teens. Since then, the Center's reputation has been seriously compromised.

Although Anchor is not licensed by the state, the Legislature's Government Oversight Committee has ruled that it is subject to uniform state requirements, as outlined by the Department of Human Services. The center is now required to meet standards for basic health and safety needs, protection from mistreatment or neglect, background checks for employees and record management.

This momentous amendment would require employees, volunteers and potential tenants of Anchor Character Training Center and all similar faith-based children's facilities to undergo routine criminal background checks. Although the Center personnel may have a tough time adapting to the new procedures, officials feel the mandated background checks are not unfair.

The amendment is viewed as a reasonable answer to a lot of people's concerns. The House of Representatives will finalize the amendment in the next few days. Rumor has it, they plan to address mandatory background checks for pastors next. When it comes to saving even a handful of children from debilitating trauma, it appears the majority would rather err on the side of extra precaution.


A Genteel Boyfriend

Mark Anthony Wilson of Fort Dodge, IA was a very likable man. The friends and family of Joni Manning, his girlfriend of eight months, really enjoyed his company and were happy for Joni. She was a good hard-working woman, a nurse, who hadn't always had it easy. It seemed she was finally happy.

Dressed in neatly pressed Dockers and well spoken, Mark exuded the air of responsibility. He loved to entertain and was an excellent cook and a vivacious host who loved to sing and sang well. When he wasn't singing, he whistled playfully as wine and beer flowed, and his famous barbeque was enjoyed by all.

The nightmare began on July 8, 2001 when Joni's sons found her beaten to death at the house she was sharing with Mark. She apparently died from head injuries caused by a blunt object. Police suspected Mark Wilson right away. It just so happened that he was convicted of the attempted murder of his ex-wife in the mid-80s. Like Joni, Wilson's ex-wife was white and a registered nurse.

Mark Wilson made his getaway in the car he stole from Joni. When police spotted the car the next day, the unsuspecting driver behind its wheel was informed that he had just bought a stolen car from a man wanted for murder.

Police are warning women, especially white nurses, to beware Wilson's deceptively pleasant ways. A $1,000 reward is being offered for assistance in capturing this dangerous man who's been on the loose for eight years.