We Don't Hire Child Molesters! (We Think)

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Author David Towler
Date Published October 15, 2014
Original Publication COD Website

A case for the use of pre-screening tests.

Having one’s child fall victim to a sex abuser is every parent’s worst nightmare. Thankfully, most of us never experience such a tragedy, but we all know that these things can, and do, happen. The news is rife with horror stories about people preying upon the children in their care. The perpetrators have included everyone from teachers to coaches to babysitters to the clergy. Sadly, most of the individuals charged with such crimes are rarely first-time offenders.

Organizations that care for children have an obligation and a duty to keep their charges safe from all kinds of dangers, and that includes pedophiles. Failure to do so can result in lasting physical and emotional impacts on the victims and serious legal repercussions for everyone else, to say nothing to the permanent damage that can be done to an organization’s reputation. In a worst-case-scenario it can be impossible to recover from and might even force a business to close.

Like any employer, summer camps are not immune to these sorts of problems. A quick (and unscientific) Google search returned dozens of stories of physical and sexual abuse by camp counselors at facilities all across the United States and Canada.

The incidents date back many years and involve both male and female perpetrators, as well as, male and female victims. Many cases also involved more than one victim. In most cases the camp administrators weren’t aware of a problem until it was brought to their attention by the victims’ parents or the police. The charges that were laid included sexual assault, indecent assault, corruption of a minor, distribution of child pornography, endangering the welfare of a child, sexual exploitation and strangulation in the third degree. Some victims were as young as 6 years of age. In once case it is alleged that “…the [camp’s] owner tried covering up the abuse and gave the [accused] counselor a bus ticket home…”

Many of the camps claimed that they routinely conduct “extensive background checks” on all applicants. This merely proves that while criminal background checks are indeed useful, they will only identify people who already have criminal records. A lot can fall through the cracks. The statistics are sobering. One study found that “molesters average 12 child victims and 71 acts of molestation. An earlier study by Dr. Abel found that out of 561 sexual offenders there were over 291,000 incidents totaling over 195,000 victims…This same study found that only 3% of these sexual offenders have a chance of getting caught.”

Although incidents of molestation statistically relatively few in number they also seem to occur widely and with alarming frequency. Obviously, more can and should be done to address the problem.

Parents expect and demand that the individuals who are hired by their child’s summer camp are properly vetted, trained and supervised and that they will not engage in criminal behaviour. Camping organizations, like any employer, are at the mercy of those that they hire if those individuals turn out to be bad risks. Unfortunately, many children’s camps are apparently unwilling or unable to take steps to ensure that this is less likely to happen. While there’s no magic bullet, there are resources available that they could be taking greater advantage of.

Many employers use a variety of pre-screening assessments to help them evaluate their candidates. Accurate and reliable texts exist to assess honesty, work ethic, interpersonal skills, general aptitude, personality and more. Best of all, they’re legal for an employer to use. Camps could also be taking advantage of tools that would help them screen out potential problem employees.

There is, of course, no pre-employment ‘test’ that will identify a pedophile nor one that will guarantee a successful hire. However, there are many assessment tools available to employers that will dramatically increase one’s success rate. When used correctly, a pre-employment assessment will reveal information about an individual’s attitudes and aptitudes that are difficult, if not impossible, to obtain in any other way. They can significantly augment one’s ability to make more informed decisions about an applicant.

There are even tools available that specifically address the need to screen those who work with children. The 4-H Leader-Child Care Worker II and the Camp Counselor Test/Child Care Worker I tests allow employers to identify people who are comfortable working around children and who handle frustration well. They also assess one’s willingness to obey rules and regulations and work well in a team. The test also measures mental aptitude to help determine who will learn quickly, profit from instruction, and make good decisions when there are no ready guidelines to follow. Tests also exist to help assess dishonesty, drug avoidance, safety risk, stress tolerance, self control, concern for others and dependability, among other things.

Many assessment tools are very affordable and are not exclusively the domain of “Big Business” or those with big budgets. No employer is too small to reap the benefits of better employee screening. The cost of one bad hire can drastically outweigh the cost of a little increased due diligence. Employers who choose not to take advantage of pre-screening tests sometimes place themselves at a disadvantage and at risk of dire consequences in cases like those mentioned earlier. Given that there are hundreds of excellent, cost effective assessment products to choose from and the problems that they can help one avoid, there’s every reason to be taking advantage of them.

References:

• 16-Year Old Day Camp Counselor Arrested On Multiple Counts Of Child Sex Abuse – 2014 New Jersey, USA Click Here

• Camp counsellor charged with sexual assault – 2011 Whitchurch-Stouffville, Ontario Click Here

• Camp counselor accused of choking child – 2014 Newington Connecticut, USA Click Here

• Camp counselor arrested after sexually abusing Jewish boy in camp – Pennsylvania, USA Click Here

• Camp Counselor Arrested For Sex Crimes – 2009 Milford Twp., Pennsylvania, USA Click Here

• Camp Counselor Arrested On Sex Charges – 2011 Santa Rosa, California, USA Click Here

• Camp counselor gets 12 years for sex tape – 2009 Hudson, New York, USA Click Here

• Christian Camp Counselor Arrested for Molestation; Additional Victims Sought – 2014 Santa Barbara, California USA Click Here

• Cops investigating sex assault at church camp in Ontario – 2014 Turkey Point, Ontario Click Here

• Ex-substitute teacher, camp counselor sentenced for child pornography – 2014 Boston, USA Click Here

• Female camp counselor is charged in sexual assault of two Orange teenagers – 2010 West Milford, New Jersey, USA Click Here

• 'Ideal' camp counselor faces sex abuse charges – 2014 San Antonio, Texas USA Click Here

• McGill student accused of sexual assault hired by summer camp – 014 Montreal, Quebec Click Here

• Monsey boy, 12, was molested by camp counselor: lawsuit – 2014 Monsey, Pennsylvania, USA Click Here

• Oakland Park Summer Camp Counselor Arrested For Child Abuse – 2014 Oakland Park, California, USA Click Here

• Old Bridge summer camp counselor charged with sexually assaulting boy – 2012 Middlesex, New Jersey, USA Click Here

• Staten Island Camp Counselor Arrested for 2nd Time on Sex Abuse Charges: DA – 2013 Staten Island, New York, USA Click Here

• The Abel and Harlow Child Molestation Prevention Study Click Here

• Youth worker, babysitter arrested on child porn charges – 2014 Jacksonville, Florida, USA - Click Here

David Towler is President of Creative Organizational Design, a firm offering 35 years of expertise specializing in employee assessments and which has over 2000 different product titles available.

Re-printable with permission.