Dean “Dino” Curcio, a Deer Park, IL resident, claimed to be a youth hockey coach so well known he wore a cap and sunglasses indoors at the local hockey arena to avoid being recognized. It’s a good thing he was not able to find a position with the coaching staff. On August 3rd he was arrested when it came to light he was wanted in Boulder, CO, on charges of sexual assault of a child by a person in a position of trust.
Examples like the above underscore how important it is that applicants for positions at youth serving organizations are carefully screened before hiring. A highly recommended screening first step is state and nationwide criminal history background checks. Two types of criminal history background checks are name-based and fingerprint-based.
Name based checks (based on name and SSN) are quick and accessible but have several limitations. An applicant may give a false name; have different last names, e.g. married name(s); have a common name; or there may be a type error in the database. Fingerprint-based checks reveal more information, and can catch individuals using an alias or legally changed name.
Criminal history background checks should be done in the state(s) the applicant has resided in, but a nationwide search is better. All organizations that serve children can have access to an FBI fingerprint-based background check. This is done through the state, allowed by the National Child Protection Act. Criminal history backgrounds checks alone won’t eliminate the risk of harm to children. But they are a critical tool in helping to minimize the risk to children.
The following statistics are from a report published by COPS (Community Oriented Policing Services). The report pdf download link follows.
- 58% of children are victimized by an acquaintance
- According to a LexisNexis® audit of over 3.7 million screenings from 2002-2007, more than 189,000 people with at least one criminal conviction attempted to gain employment or volunteer with a nonprofit organization. A registered sex offender attempted to obtain a position at a non-profit organization every 11.5 hours during the audit period.
- Of a subset of Child Pilot Safety applicants with criminal records:
￮ 42% had a record in a different state
￮ 23% applied with a different name
￮ 6% applied with a different date of birth
￮ 53.4% indicated that they did not have a criminal record, but one was uncovered
What You Need to Know About Background Screening
Authors: Kristen D. Anderson, Dawn Daly; Publication Date: 06/01/2013; Product ID: COPS-P260
Fugitive from sexual assault charges identified by Lake County residents after watching TV show
John Keilman, Lee V. Gaines and Frank S. Abderholden; August 4, 2017, Contact Reporters, Chicago Tribune