Halloween is just around the corner, and many of us eagerly anticipate the spine-tingling thrills of haunted houses. Zombies, goblins, and even the occasional chainsaw-wielding killer clown can provide the adrenaline rush we seek. However, there is one type of horror that should never be part of the haunted house experience: the presence of registered sex offenders.
Imagine stepping into a haunted house, expecting scares and surprises, only to discover that some of the employees have a history of sexual offenses. That’s exactly what happened in a haunted house in Columbia Station, Ohio last Halloween. According to this Cleveland 19 news article, in October 2022, a local haunted house named Spooky Ranch unknowingly hired registered sex offenders as employees. One had been convicted of unlawful sexual conduct with a 15-year-old, while the other was a habitual sex offender, with convictions for the rape of a 7-year-old girl and an 11-year-old boy.
The story garnered significant attention from the community and raised serious concerns about child safety and the need for stringent background checks, particularly sex offender registry checks. Astonishingly, the haunted house owner had not conducted any background checks on the employees hired. Thinking about the possibilities of what could have happened gives me goosebumps. Hiring employees without proper screening is always a risk, but it becomes especially alarming when individuals will be working in close proximity to minors, in a dimly lit, potentially chaotic environment.
According to the Lorain County Sheriff's Office, there is no specific law that prohibits sex offenders from working at haunted houses. However, this incident underscores the fundamental responsibility of business owners to perform thorough background checks, identifying individuals with histories of sex offenses or other criminal activities that could jeopardize the safety of vulnerable populations and the reputation of their organization.
The Spooky Ranch Haunted House incident serves as a stark reminder of the critical importance of conducting background checks, especially sex offender registry searches. By doing so, they not only fulfill their ethical obligations but also contribute to creating a safer environment for children, vulnerable populations and their communities.
Keeping Communities Safe with Direct-Source Data®
At InformData, we understand the importance of performing background checks to safeguard our workspaces and communities. Our mission is to make direct-source people-data equitably accessible to all by thinking differently about data. This means innovating solutions to get background check data to CRAs and their end users as fast as possible without sacrificing accuracy.
Our latest innovation, Sex Offender Registry+, improves the way traditional SOR searches are performed by making them easier, faster, and more conclusive than ever before. In the Spooky Ranch scenario, the owner could have weeded out those real-life monsters with ease. After all, end users shouldn't have to wait to ensure their workplaces and communities are safe. With SOR+TM, your CRA or background screening company can finally offer the confidence and turnaround time your end users deserve in sex offender registry searches.
Halloween should be a time for fun scares, not a time for fearing who might be lurking in the shadows. We’d love to learn how we can help your CRA create a safer environment through background screening and sex offender registry checks with our Direct-Source Data solutions. Send us a message today.