Monroe Public Schools has done more than 1,100 background checks this year, but they didn’t do a background check on one volunteer until just recently.
That volunteer, they learned, turned out to be a sex offender.
When many parents at Custer Elementary learned of the mistake, they voiced fear. What kind of sex offender would volunteer at a school? 7 Action News asked him.
“I just want to spend time with my son. That’s it,” said the man at the center of this controversy.
He is a dad. We aren’t showing his face or sharing his name to protect the privacy of his son. He broke down in tears as he spoke to us, saying he has had several heart attacks recently and doctors aren’t optimistic.
“I had a quadruple bypass. I don’t have a lot of time.”
He continued, “If they had told me I couldn’t be there, I wouldn’t be there. I don’t ever want to put my son in danger. My disability. My house. Nothing. Especially my son.”
“This is a teacher’s nightmare and administrator’s nightmare and we never want it to happen again,” said Dr. Barry Martin, the Superintendent of Monroe Public Schools.
Dr. Martin says he reached out to every parent in the class to notify them of the mistake. The school has a policy against allowing registered sex offenders to volunteer. At the school changes are being made to prevent this.
The district plans to invest in technology that allows all visitors to be screened right away with a scan of their driver’s license. This dad was always supervised by the teacher, the teacher waited until he became a regular volunteer to run the check. Dr. Martin says in the future it will be done sooner.
“We need to learn to use that background check more,” said Dr. Martin of the message he sent teachers and principals in response to this.
In the meantime, the man at the center of all this is worried. He is getting death threats from other parents online. He says they fear he is a child predator. He says he is not.
Taking a look at his crime, it happened in 1995. He was convicted of three misdemeanor fourth degree criminal sexual conduct charges.
The Monroe County Sheriff’s Office had no details immediately available. This dad says he had an alcohol problem in his twenties. He got drunk one night, urinated in public, and groped several women. He claims he hasn’t committed a crime since.
“That's not me now. That’s 2 decades ago. I don’t know what else to say,” he said.