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Free Background Check Resources: Washington News

Never Hire Domestic Help Without a Background Check!

Mary "Allison" Winslow Chodl typically inspired confidence in people she just met. Everything about her appearance and the way she carried herself implied a classy, trustworthy older lady. Mary supplemented her income with dog-walking. She's been taking care of people's dogs and homes all around Puget Sound. Dogs loved her too - she had a gentle manner and always brought treats. Everyone Mary has ever worked for knew her as Allison.

None of the dog owners she worked for ever suspected she was a convicted felon. Police point out that a simple background check would have saved everyone a lot of trouble, yet too many people still feel it isn't necessary. Several of them admit that they called all of Chodl's references and felt it was sufficient. Police also recommend checking government-issued ID before ordering a report on "Allison" instead of Mary.

Chodl, 64, admitted stealing over $100,000 worth of jewelry, watches and other valuables. However, from the wide assortment of items found and returned to owners, some had little, if any monetary value, but appeared to have had sentimental value to the owners. Then again, the stolen decorative soaps lacked that too, which indicated that Mary may simply be a kleptomaniac. Mary Chodl was convicted of several counts of various degrees of theft and is expected to stay under home arrest for 29 months.

Let's hope all involved have learned their lessons. When it comes to letting a stranger into your home, a background check is not optional and nothing can replace it: professional references may be fake, and they don't eliminate possible existence of a criminal record.

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


More Casualties of a Forgone Background Check Surface Years Later

So, the State of Washington has outed another wolf in sheep's clothing: Father Pat O'Donnell. The good father admitted to molesting over 30 young boys during the course of more than 30 years. How did it come out? Two of his victims, now grown men, have come forward and accused him of condemning them to a lifetime of emotional trauma. They claim to have been sexually abused by the priest back in 1976, when both were just twelve-year-old boys.

The surprising twist of this story is the victims are suing the Seattle Catholic Archdiocese, blaming it for dropping the ball when they hired Father O'Donnell. Why? Here's where the plot thickens. Turns out, O'Donnell is originally from Spokane and was kicked out of there in 1976 for abusing the son of a local cop. What's worse, the Spokane incident was kept hush-hush. With no one the wiser, O'Donnell fled Spokane, and as we now know, went on to molest Seattle boys that same year.

The crux of the lawsuit charges lies in one loaded question: why didn't the Seattle Archdiocese conduct a background check prior to hiring O'Donnell? Of course, Seattle is pointing a finger at Spokane for burying the scandal and not informing Seattle. This is definitely a valid argument, but it doesn't change the fact that the burden was on Seattle to watch its back and prevent the sexual predator from infiltrating the organization, thus inadvertently causing severe damages to trusting parishioners.

There is but one extenuating factor that may soften the impact on the Seattle Archdiocese: those were different times. In those days, our cultural practices differed significantly from what's considered the norm today. We have since learned the hard way. A routine background check has only recently become a prerequisite for employment. Yet, even today, religious institutions experience a certain discomfort when confronted with the need to routinely background check all priests. They are still resistant to the idea, fearing that the holy men may misconstrue it as irreverence to their stature.

The problem is, as we have seen over and over again, not every man of the cloth is automatically holy. Most are, but if there is no way to tell the difference, they gotta do what they gotta do. The Church's first responsibility is to parishioners who entrust their innocent children to what they believe to be the wise, gentle guidance of a respected community leader, and have the right not to have them victimized by dangerous perverts instead.

Like it or not, nowadays background checks should be mandatory for every institution that administers care and services to children, regardless of whether it's state-run or church-owned. The Seattle Archdiocese may not be able to rectify the old damages, but there is a lot more they can do to prevent future child molesters from victimizing more children in the name of the lord.

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


A Mandatory Background Check for Foster Parents is a Very Good Idea

Have you heard? A high-ranking Washington State border patrol official has been charged with three counts of third-degree child rape. Joseph Giuliano, 55-year-old deputy chief of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection, a 20-year veteran, admitted to having an ongoing sexual relationship with his 14-year-old foster child. Mr. and Mrs. Giuliano took the girl in when her parents separated and were unable to care for her. As if this poor kid hasn't been through enough already, she had to tolerate months and months of the dirty old man's disgusting advances. It seems upstanding citizens may also have dark skeletons lurking in their closet.

It was an anonymous phone call from someone in Bellingham High School that alerted the Sheriff's Office. Apparently, the victim complained to her friends about her new "father's" ongoing abuse. Reportedly, Mrs. Giuliano was not aware of her husband's deviant behavior toward their foster daughter. The Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor has recommended Giuliano serve one year in jail on work release and undergo three years of sexual deviancy treatment.

And what of the child? Who will put her life back together? It seems incredibly unlikely that a man with a tendency to take advantage of a child's vulnerability has lived to be 55 and has never done it before in his life. Chances are, he's been caught, too. In that case, there may just be a record of that in his criminal history. Did the Child Protection Agency do a background check on Giuliano before entrusting him with this child's welfare?

They do thorough background checks on people who want to adopt a child, but it seems foster care is different. We certainly seem to hear about the abuse and deaths of foster children a lot more often. So, just about anyone can take them in because no one else wants them? Clearly, every potential foster parent should undergo a thorough background check. And shouldn't border patrol officials and agents undergo background checks as well?

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


Don't Let Anyone Near Your Child Without a Background Check

What makes us trust others? Generally we tend to trust those we know well, those with actions we can predict with relative certainty and that indicate a morally healthy individual. And if we don't know someone that well and need to get closer in a hurry, well then, there is only one method of achieving that goal: a background check.

Then what, may I ask, was the mother in the following news story thinking? How, in her mind, a man's mechanical skills or the fact that he may have been good in bed qualified him as her daughter's babysitter?

Here's what happened: Kitsap County Superior Court charged a 36-year-old man from Bremerton, WA with a Level II sex offense - ongoing molestation of a 7-year-old girl whom he was babysitting. The girl's mother met this man when he repaired her car. She apparently felt she knew him well enough to let him babysit her little daughter for three whole months. Until one day the child told her mother the man tickled her, but she wasn't allowed to say more, or she would get in trouble.

I know, when we like someone we want to believe we can trust that person. But when it comes to the safety of your innocent child, mothers, put your fantasies aside. It's so simple to learn more about someone before letting him infiltrate your family. Just run a quick background check, and make sure there are no criminal records in his past and no other wives and children in every state. Then, go ahead, feel good about entrusting your precious little person to someone you know deserves your trust. Anything less translates into criminal negligence. Now think about that.

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


A Strong Father

Ken Freeman is a dashingly handsome man. His bright green eyes stand out against his smoldering black hair and mustache. Ken has a very impressive physique; he is an avid bodybuilder and spends a lot of time at the gym. In fact, Ken Freeman was named "Mr. Eastern Washington Bodybuilder." If that wasn't impressive enough, Ken is a former federal law enforcement officer and reserve Sheriff's Deputy. He is divorced and remarried and has a lovely daughter named Kylie from his first marriage. A very solid, trustworthy man, that Ken Freeman.

In January of 2001, 16-year-old Kylie publicly accused her father of ongoing sexual abuse. He had been forcing himself on her and filming their encounters since Kylie was 10. She'd been keeping quiet for fear that her dad would have to go to prison. Eventually, of course, as she got older and received enough information, she'd gotten strong enough to resist her father and report Freeman's ongoing abuse. During the search, detectives discovered the videos of Freeman sexually abusing Kylie on his computer. They now had enough evidence to put this dangerous man away for a very long time.

Unfortunately, Freeman posted bail and never showed up for his arraignment hearing in Kennewick, Washington in March, 2006. Later, detectives discovered a surveillance video of him leaving a parking garage in Seattle on the day of his hearing, on his way to SeaTac International Airport. Freeman was on his way to China that very day. A warrant was issued for Freeman's arrest; it was now a fugitive hunt of international scale.

Freeman was now on the US Marshals' "Most Wanted List". Kylie, now a teenager and an advocate against childhood sexual abuse, condemned her father on America's Most Wanted. Yet, Freeman was hard to catch. His prior career in law enforcement helped, but he also had help from his third wife who traveled to meet him in China on multiple occasions. However, the U. S. had the cooperation of the Chinese and Hong Kong Governments.

On May 2, 2007, when Freeman crossed the border from China to Hong Kong, the local police arrested him at the bus station. The strong man didn't go without a fight.

On Dec. 17, 2008, accused sex offender and child pornographer Kenneth Freeman pleaded guilty to state and federal charges, and in March 2009, the 46-year-old was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

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