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Free Background Check Resources: Utah News

Utah to Improve Background Check Process in Public Schools

The recent audit of the background check process at Utah public schools has resulted in findings that were not very comforting to state legislators and school district officials. Audit findings revealed that the current procedures for pre-employment criminal screening have failed to discover applicant criminal records as part of the background check.

Out of 1200 public school employees at 32 Utah schools, 17 or 1.4% were discovered to have the types of criminal convictions that are considered of special concern when closely working with children, which include felony sex assault, indecent exposure, aggravated assault, theft and drug use. Although the legislative auditors deemed the percentage of problems small, the committee recognized that when it comes to protecting children, the usual standards are not applicable; the number of findings is too high.

Part of the problem stems from the fact that not all the employees had the convictions on their record at the time they applied for employment. Of the 17, only nine were convicted before they were hired; six got in trouble after getting the job, and two got convicted both before and after they were hired. The moral of the story is that under such sensitive circumstances a pre-employment criminal background check is not sufficient; mandatory routine post-employment background checks of all employees are highly recommended as well.

A Beloved Medical Student

Mark Hacking was his family's pride and joy. His parents and siblings always knew Mark was going to be a doctor when he grew up. He was the scholarly type, and everyone looked to him to make it big and provide financial comfort for his growing family. He had recently married, and the family had just found out that Mark and his lovely young wife Lori were expecting their first child. The young couple was about to move to North Carolina, where Mark was admitted to medical school.

Everything went terribly awry on July 19, 2004, when police in Salt Lake City, Utah received a call from the sobbing Mark Hacking, who reported his wife Lori missing after her morning jog. Just hours after Hacking reported his wife missing, police were informed of a disturbance near the Hacking home: Mark Hacking was running around naked. Consequently, his family checked him into a psychiatric institution. That's when they found out that Mark never applied to medical school; he didn't even graduate from college. He also confessed to his brothers that he killed Lori and threw the weapon and their mattress in the trash.

Did he snap under the pressure of everyone's expectations? We may never know. Police think Hacking killed Lori after she learned he lied to her about being admitted to medical school. We do know, however, that on August 9, 2004 police arrested Mark Hacking, charging him with his wife's death. Although at the time Lori's body was still missing, investigators found sufficient murder evidence in the Hackings' home; they also wondered why just before Hacking made the emergency call on July 19th, he first bought a new mattress.

Detectives searched the city landfill and found a garbage bag with a human carcass that was identified as the body of Lori Hacking, based on her dental records. Along with the body, they found the missing mattress and a knife covered with Lori's blood and hair.

On April 15, 2005 Hacking pleaded guilty to and was convicted of first degree murder of his wife. During the sentence hearing, Hacking wept and told the judge he'd "spend one thousand lifetimes behind bars if it would make any difference" and bring back his wife. Yet, he couldn't explain why he did it.

The above account is based on a true story. Background checks protect peaceful citizens from being deceived and/or harmed by a cunning criminal.