Florida DCF Reviewing Background Check Process After Spokeman Arrested for Child Pornography

Nick Fishman

It would seem that the Florida Department of Children & Families has a nightmare on their hands. They hired a spokesman for the organization that was recently arrested on Child Pornography charges, as documented by the Orlando Sentinal in their article DCF reviewing background check policy after spokesman’s arrest.

The state agency said that a background check was conducted and did not reveal conviction records from the state of Texas which focused on writing bad checks. They said if they had known about these records, it might have affected their decision to hire this individual. My guess is that the state didn’t conduct a thorough check, however it could have been much worse. Based on this report, it doesn’t seem to indicate that this individual had prior records related to sex crimes or child pornography.

The importance of conducting a county criminal record search in each county where the applicant has lived, worked or attended school cannot be understated. The article doesn’t indicate that these offenses occurred in counties where the individual resided, but I think it’s a safe assumption. If he didn’t the state would be claiming the they conducted a thorough check and wouldn’t be reevaluating their procedures.

Nick Fishman
Follow Me

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
Follow Me
Tweet
Share
Email
Share
  • Anonymous

    Update from Tampa, FL. They’re reporting today that the spokesperson in question actually eluded the DCF’s limited screening program as he was hired prior to the initiation of the program in late ’06. Before then, they only screened for certain positions, evidently exempting the spokesperson position as one that warranted a screen. They now want to go back and screen all employees.
    Zimmerman, the spokesperson in question, did have criminal records in two previous jurisdictions, which may or may not have shown up on a national fingerprint. He had a DUI in GA, and bad check passing in TX, where there is still an existing outstanding warrant. He was also arrested in Tampa, his prior jurisdiction of employment, for writing bad checks, charges which were later dropped upon his payment of the $433 fine.
    The DCF is also now claiming Zimmerman escaped their existing policy of an employment verification upon his hiring. A good audit check on all new hires on the payroll to see if all screening scope elements had been, in fact, run would have prevented this oversight.
    Steve Gonzalez, employeescreenIQ, Tampa