North Dakota Child Care Facility Comes Under Fire for Employee who Sexually Assaulted Four Children

By Michael Klazema on 1/14/2014

Until last month, the Immanuel Christian Children’s Center, a childcare facility based in Grand Forks, North Dakota, had always held a spotless reputation. Like other daycare centers in the state, the Immanuel Christian Children’s Center had always made sure to run proper background checks on its employers prior to permitting them to share contact with children. Also like many other North Dakota daycare businesses, the Children’s Center had never suffered any sort of controversy regarding its services. All told, the daycare center was crystal clean, with no accusations of physical or sexual abuse against any of its workers and no sign that its background check policy would ever allow a sex offender or a dangerous criminal to slip through the cracks.

That all changed in December, when one of the employees of the Immanuel Christian Children’s Center was charged for sexually assaulting four children at the daycare center. According to the charges, this 31-year-old male from Manvel, North Dakota – sexually assaulted four young girls on a regular basis during his time at Immanuel.

He was initially hired in early 2009. Charges indicate that the sexual assaults began in the December of that year, when the girls in question were three or four years old, and continued until December 2013 when one of the victims revealed what was happening to her parents. A police affidavit states that the man admitted to the sexual assaults – which took place during the care center’s “nap time” hour – and stated that he had “taken measures” to make sure that his criminal activity was not discovered by surveillance cameras or fellow Immanuel employees.

Currently, the man is on house arrest and is awaiting a March arraignment for his crimes. His charges, four counts of “gross sexual imposition of a child under 15,” could earn him a sentence of up to 80 years in prison, should he face a maximum sentence.

Following his arrest, Immanuel Christian Children’s Center retained the legal services of a Bismarck attorney, worrying that it may face liability lawsuits from parents or loss of childcare certification for the long-lasting nature of the sexual assaults. However, the attorney – a “civil trial specialist” named Jerry Evenson, believes the Immanuel had done everything in its power to keep incidents like this from occurring.

The childcare center, in accordance with state law, runs background checks on every one of its employees at hire, including state criminal checks, sex offender registry checks, and child abuse histories. State law also dictates that any daycare worker who has lived outside of North Dakota within the 10 years prior to their employment must submit to an additional FBI fingerprint check. On top of all of this, Immanuel runs repeat background checks on its employees annually. All of these checks were run on him, and his record – prior to this job – was entirely clean. In other words, the childcare center probably won’t need to worry about a negligent hiring lawsuit, but that hardly makes this scenario any less severe or any easier to deal with.


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.