Hotels Charged in Cases Involving High-Level Offender Who Was Not Subjected to a Background Check

By Michael Klazema on 5/30/2013

Civil complaints for failing to perform a background check on a night manager have been filed in the Maricopa County Superior Court against two Mesa AZ hotels. The night manager in question is a Level 3 offender who was convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in 1996.

Because a background check was apparently not run on this individual before hiring, his criminal background only came out in connection with two incidents of alleged rape at the hotels where he worked. The first incident occurred at the Best Western Superstition Springs Inn in 2011, and the second occurred at the Marriot Fairfield Inn & Suites in 2012. In both cases, the alleged victims claimed that the night manager used a master key to enter their rooms late at night and then raped them in their beds.

While the franchise owner of the Best Western could not be reached for comment, a representative of the company that runs the Marriot franchise location admitted that he normally does not run background checks on individuals applying for the job of front desk clerk.

Considering that hotel clerks have access to master keys and could easily enter guests’ rooms for criminal purposes, it seems a little strange that these hotels would not opt to use a background check to help protect their guests from theft, rape, or other potential criminal acts on the part of an untrustworthy night manager. Pre-employment background checks are fast and easy when employers use services like US OneSEARCH from US OneSEARCH enables an employer to check a database consisting of over 450 million records collected from state and county databases all across the country for references to the prospective employee in question. Most importantly in this case, US OneSEARCH automatically includes a search of Offender Registries. Because the night manager was registered on the US Department of Justice National Offender Registry, a background check with US OneSEARCH would have certainly revealed his criminal past.

Level 3 offenders are considered highly likely to re-offend, meaning that it would probably not be wise to hire them for sensitive positions like hotel clerks. In this case, the decision not to run a background check on the night manager seems to have given him the opportunity to allegedly commit two crimes.

The night manager has not been charged with any crimes in relation to the two alleged rapes, due to lack of probable cause according to local police. The 2011 case fizzled out because the alleged victim, who was homeless at the time and temporarily living in the hotel, could not be located to provide a DNA sample. Without her sample, the lab apparently could not finish processing the evidence in the case.

The 2012 case also did not result in any charges. Though the night manager admitted entering the woman’s room, he claimed that her door was ajar and he went in to check on her. However, security footage of the hallway that night showed him using a master key to enter the room. The physical evidence in the case proved inconclusive.

The fact that the alleged victims were not able to take the night manager to court in a criminal trial was cited as the reasoning for filing the civil complaints against the hotel chains by attorney Brigham Cluff. The hope is to prove that the hotels failed in their duty to protect guests by hiring a known offender, and obtain money for damages.


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