Florida Church Volunteer Admits to Child Pornography Accusations

By Michael Klazema on 8/29/2014

A church in Plant City, Florida will likely be taking a closer look at its background check policies after a youth group volunteer was arrested for child pornography charges. The volunteer in question has been associated with Plant City's Church of the Rock for several years and has been working with children for the bulk of that time.

The good news is that no reports have yet come out that the volunteer, a 28-year-old Plant City resident, took advantage of any children while working at the Church of the Rock. He also turned himself in to authorities after co-workers began to notice inappropriate images on his computer. The church staff, suspicious of him, reported the illicit content to local police. The volunteer went in and confessed to child pornography crimes after the church's report, confirming the suspicions of his co-workers.

According to a report from a Tampa Bay CBS affiliate, Grady Judd, the Sheriff for Polk County, thanked the staff at the Church of the Rock for speaking up when they noticed something wrong with this subject. It's often easy to overlook suspicious behavior when it comes to friends or co-workers, but because he was working with children while viewing child pornography, Judd says it would be impossible to be too careful.

The subject's admission of guilt indicated that he has been viewing child pornography for about a year and a half. In addition, a free app called Kik was found on his phone, and he was allegedly using it to distribute and trade child pornography with others.

A statement from Jeffrey Howell, the pastor for Plant City's Church of the Rock, helped to illuminate how this person was apprehended for his predatory misdeeds as well as what sort of background checks the church uses on volunteers. Howell said that when this subject hooked up his phone to one of the church's computers, four pornographic images of children made their way from the device to the computer. Howell assured readers that the images had not depicted any of the children at the church and that he had no reason to believe that this perrsonn had actually produced pornographic images.

As for background checks, Howell said that the Church of the Rock had screened him thoroughly before allowing him to volunteer as part of children's ministry. Workers and volunteers also go through extensive "children's safety training" as part of their pre-screening requirement. Finally, Howell noted that he and the rest of the church community would "continue to work diligently to ensure the safety of our children." Whether or not that means the church is considering revamped criminal and sex offender background screenings remains to be seen.


Industry News

Tag Cloud
Recent Posts

Latest News

  • March 22 Countrywide, states and local municipalities have committed to ban the box legislation, seeking to equalize opportunities in the job market for those with criminal histories.
  • March 22

    Thinking about becoming a firefighter? Here are some of the background check requirements you might face.

  • March 20

    Four Department of Commerce employees are out after their background checks resulted in security clearance denials. All four had worked high-ranking positions for months despite incomplete background checks.

  • March 15 As more states legalize the recreational use of cannabis, they contend with the emergence of new industries surrounding marijuana cultivation and production. 
  • March 14 In most cases, it is easy to determine where an issue might show up on a pre-employment background check. Citations for traffic violations or reckless driving charges will appear on a motor vehicle record check. Verdicts in a civil court case will show on a civil court background check. And criminal convictions—from petty theft to violent felonies—show up on criminal background checks.
  • March 13 How many years back do employment background checks go? This question can have multiple different answers depending on the situation.
  • March 13 A new bill in Florida would require landlords of apartment complexes to present tenants with verifications of employee background checks to give them peace of mind the people working in and around their homes are trustworthy.
  • March 08 Police officers working with the University of Texas at Arlington recently arrested a man who had avoided police capture on a warrant out of Oregon for nearly two decades. The man, whose real name is Daniel Charles Ray Hanson, spent those 17 years using a variety of fake names and identification documents to move around the country, often engaging with educational institutions under false pretenses. Police say Hanson regularly went by at least three different aliases. He sports a rap sheet that stretches back to an arson conviction in 1995. 
  • March 07

    The Future of EEOC Guidance in Texas Is Up in the Air

    The EEOC issued guidance in 2012 warning employers about the dangers of enforcing categorical policies to bar candidates with criminal histories. That guidance is not enforceable in Texas thanks to a recent court ruling.

  • March 05 Vermont is the latest state to restrict employers’ access to and use of social media accounts of employees and applicants.