Sex Offenders Have an Open Door in Florida Thanks to Weak Law

By Michael Klazema on 3/12/2012

James Roy Melton Jr. is a convicted child sex offender in the state of Florida. Even after his conviction, however, he had been able to secure work as a camp counselor and sadly, it is unknown exactly how many children may have been abused by him. The summer of 1997 was the summer that Melton Jr. was able to work at the summer camp and the laws have still not been changed.

The state of Florida does have laws in place to protect children from sex offenders, but in one of the most obvious places, summer camp, laws don’t provide or mandate any type of reporting or enforcement. Though it has been almost 15 years since Melton Jr. worked at the camp and he has been in prison ever since, Florida residents are puzzled as to why nothing has been done to change these laws. When earlier reports surfaced in 2010 lawmakers like Senate President Mike Haridopolos; Stuart Rep. William Snyder, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee; and Sen. Ronda Storms, head of the Senate’s Children and Families Committee all promised swift change, but didn’t follow through in 2011

As it stands, Florida summer camps are effectively unregulated in regards to licensing and screening of employees and volunteers. In fact, the state has no idea how many camps there are in Florida nor do they have any information on the people who run them. Once James Roy Melton is released he could set up a camp without any license, invite children in and who knows what may happen. It is thought that Melton Jr. abused at least 12 children when he was at the camp in 1997, but even now, since nothing is regulated when it comes to camp, it is unknown if there were just 12 or possibly more.

There are only six states in the nation who do not regulate camps and Florida is by far the largest of them. It is known and on record that lawmakers have been made aware of this situation since at least the mid 1980s. The legislature could decide to authorize third party screening companies like to carry out and certify checks. This company has dedicated programs allowing sponsoring organizations to set screening standards and compel employees and volunteers in participating organizations to go through basic or advanced background checks, which nearly always includes a product like the US Offender OneSEARCH which instantly checks sex offender registries throughout the US.

About - - a founding member of the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS®) - serves thousands of customers nationwide, from small businesses to Fortune 100 companies by providing comprehensive screening services.  Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, with an Eastern Operations Center in Chapin, S.C., is home to one of the largest online criminal conviction databases in the industry. For more information about backgroundchecks’ offerings, please visit


For more information about our authors click here.


Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • June 20 Repeat background checks are becoming more common, with companies in India leading the charge. What does this trend look like, and how can employers embrace it now to stay ahead of the curve?
  • June 19

    Every federal job involves a background check of some kind. These background checks and how they are evaluated vary based on job, department, and security clearance level.

  • June 18

  • June 14 Ban the box laws aim to improve opportunities for employment. Could they have the opposite effect instead?
  • June 13 Jacobs Petroleum Products is a regional petroleum company that operates throughout Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and Maryland. Apart from their employees carrying much responsibility and have frequent contact with customers, the company’s hiring also tends to be segmented since individual store managers are responsible for hiring talent for their own stores. In this employment landscape, Jacobs Petroleum Products needed a reliable and effective way to screen its new hires for criminal infractions and other red flags.
  • June 12

    The University of Wisconsin System may tweak its hiring and reference check processes. The potential changes come after one of UW’s assistant deans was accused of sexual harassment.

  • June 07 Stories of abuse by coaches in youth sports leagues continue to crop up around the country, but rules and guidelines remain patchy and enforcement is often lacking. The struggle to implement an effective system continues nationwide.
  • June 07 Financial background checks, usually referred to as credit history checks, can be an effective way to find out if a candidate is fit to handle accounts, financial data, and other assets at your business.
  • June 06 The Society for Human Resource Management and the Charles Koch Institute recently commissioned a survey to find out how willing employers were to hire people with criminal records. The study indicates that managers, HR professionals, and employees themselves are becoming more comfortable with the idea of hiring and working with ex-offenders.
  • June 04 Are fingerprint background checks the gold standard for employee screening, or are they overhyped? We look at some of the myths and misconceptions surrounding these checks.