In Boston, the New England Conservatory has recently been under fire for hiring a registered sex offender and having this man on their staff for ten years. Peter Benjamin, who is a freelance videographer, has worked for the prep school by videotaping numerous concerts, performances and rehearsals involving the children of the school. When he was hired, he was not given a background check.
If Benjamin had been giving a criminal background check prior to being hired, it would have been noted that he had spent five years in prison in the 1990’s after being found guilty of sexually abusing teen boys. Though the school has a policy that prohibits the hiring of convicted sex offenders, Benjamin was able to slip through the cracks. He was hired on a freelance basis by the director of the youth philharmonic orchestra at the school Benjamin Zander. Zander would have been in charge of getting the background check done on Benjamin, something he failed to do. Zander has subsequently been fired recently for failing to ensure Benjamin had gone through a background check even though he know about Benjamin’s background.
What makes this even more troubling is not only was Benjamin not required to go through a background check ten years ago when he first started freelancing with the school, he was not put through a background check in 2010 when the school put in a firm policy about background checks for all of their volunteers, vendors and staff. In fact, besides Zander, school officials only found out about Benjamin’s background through an anonymous tip. Parents and the community, of course, were outraged and the school has received over 6000 letters of protest.
This is a situation that easily could have been avoided by ensuring that Benjamin had gone through a background check before being hired. Companies all over the US are upping the amount of background checks they give and with the help of companies like backgroundchecks.com, they are able to stop potentially dangerous situations before they even have a chance to happen. Though there are no accusations that Benjamin has done anything wrong since working for the school, the chance alone is too much for most people.
backgroundchecks.com has several products, like their US Offender OneSEARCH which could have told the school about Benjamin’s past instantly. Not only could it have given the school information on Massachusetts, it is able to search all fifty states.
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