Concealed Criminal History of Day Care Owner

Nick Fishman

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While a great amount of confidence comes with conducting a background check on someone working with children, what happens if a criminal history was not found in the background check? This was exactly the case with Jessica Tata, who ran a day care from her home in Texas where a fire started and killed four children under her care, in addition to injuring others. When Jessica applied for a child care license in Texas she refrained from listing that she had a criminal past–a juvenile conviction from when she was in high school, which could have prevented the child care license from being issued. Ironically, the juvenile conviction was an arson related case as well. While a background check was conducted, no record was found.

Susan Lahmeyer, a former district director of licensing with the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services, stated that she was not sure why the juvenile conviction did not show up in the background check. It’s possible that the background check did not cover criminal records from that long ago, or perhaps it was not found because it was a juvenile conviction. In addition, Tata’s attorney stated that she might not have listed the juvenile conviction on her application as she thought that information was confidential.

At any rate, this case is another example that every background check, whether it’s for a daycare license or job applicant, requires a thorough and complete search, or there may be devastating consequences later. While an employer cannot be sure of the full disclosure from an applicant, it’s important to know that a criminal history may not be easily found. Tata has been found guilty of at least one count of felony murder with three other counts of felony murder pending in addition to counts for the children that were injured.

Read more about this story:

Witness: Day care owner concealed criminal history

Nick Fishman
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Nick Fishman

Nick Fishman is the co-founder of EmployeeScreenIQ, a leading, global employment background screening provider, and serves as the company’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. He pioneered the creation of EmployeeScreen University, the #1 educational resource on employment background checks for human resources, security and risk management professionals. A recognized industry expert, Nick is a frequent author, presenter and contributor to the news media. Nick is also a licensed private investigator in the states of Ohio and Texas.
Nick Fishman
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