Bouncy play houses and castles are a common site at children’s parties and other events for children, making for a fun time for the children who attend. A small business that provides the inflatable toys had no idea that they had hired a convicted sex offender into their business that caters to children. USA Inflatables, based out of Champlin, MN, learned the hard way when employee Greg Sissala was recently arrested for failure to register as a sex offender. Business owner Kurt Wresh was shocked to find out, since Sissala never made any mention of previous arrests. According to a report from WCCO-TV, it turns out Sissala has an extensive criminal past. Convicted of a sex crime in Chisago county in 1995, fortunately Sissala was not directly working with any children, since he was only assigned to work out of the warehouse.
This is lucky for USA Inflatables, who prior to this incident, were not in the habit of running criminal background checks. In business for eleven years, and with 20 employees, new hires are checked for driving related offenses, including a driver’s license and DOT check, and must pass a drug test. According to Wresh, Sissala was questioned on his background but made no mention of his criminal past.
The Anoka County Sheriff’s department reports that this was not the first time Sissala failed to register, which is a violation of his release conditions. He now waits behind bars while a case is presented to the county attorney for potential charges and extra jail time.
Wresh has learned from this ordeal, and now wants to get the word out to other business owners the importance of background checks on potential employees. This incident is the beginning of hiring policy changes at USA Inflatables. Wresh states that they have now run background checks on their remaining staff. This is especially important if there is a chance any employees in your business could have contact with children.
These stories are becoming all too common. Small businesses are even more prone, as they may not have the resources in place, or think performing background checks is too difficult or time consuming. However, as seen in a recent article, Sex Offenders Have an Open Door in Florida Thanks to Weak Law, organizations who have weak regulations concerning background checks are more likely to allow sex offenders and other criminals through their doors, possibly giving them access to children.
Don’t be caught off guard the way Kurt Wresh was. Many people with criminal pasts will not voluntarily admit so. The only way to know for sure is to perform background checkson both prospective and current employees. A company like backgroundchecks.com provides several affordable options for instant results. Their US OneSEARCH provides information from more than 355 million criminal records from counties, Department of Corrections (DOC), Administration of Courts (AOC) and State Sex Offender Registries covering 49 states plus Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and Guam. Also included are national and international terrorism sources, more than 4.1 million photos, and their proprietary database of previously completed reports. And if you’re only looking for sex offender records, the US Offender OneSEARCH Offender Registry search includes information contained in the US OneSEARCH. This data includes sex offender information from 49 states (plus Washington D.C., Guam, and Puerto Rico) with photos. Make backgroundchecks.com part of your hiring process, and protect yourself from unexpected surprises down the road.
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backgroundchecks.com - 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., backgroundchecks.com is home to one of the largest online criminal conviction databases in the industry. For more information about backgroundchecks’ offerings, please visit www.backgroundchecks.com