Police in Fort Worth Texas discovered that a sex offender was officiating sporting events at two school districts.
About The Officiate
James Earl Williams was working as an athletic official for Granbury and Glen Rose school districts in Texas. However, due to his criminal record he was not eligible to be in this position. Williams is a registered sexual offender who is also accused of abducting and raping a 13-year old girl. According to an affidavit, Williams was linked to that kidnapping via a DNA database. The prosecution believes they have a strong case against him.
In 2016, Williams was convicted of kidnapping an 11-year-old child. He served two years in a state jail and was required to register as a sexual offender once his sentence was completed. Prior to this, he had a kidnapping conviction that occurred in Hawaii.
Williams has serious restrictions regarding employment. Because of his past, he is prohibited from working with minors. He neglected to inform local police he’d been accepted as an officiate for youth sporting events.
How Could This Happen?
Williams was contracted through an agency that provides workers to Texas schools. The agent who approved Williams was Larry Pollard.
Pollard stated that most of the people he recommends are individuals he has known and trusted for years. However, he also reportedly affirmed that sometimes he must find outside help due to a lack of available personnel. That appears to have been what happened here. Williams was allegedly approved without a background screening to fill an open officiate position.
In a statement, Pollard said his services: “provide the officials for those schools and there’s a lot of them that wouldn’t be able to have basketball games if it wasn’t for us.” Pollard also allegedly admitted that background checks are not run on the individuals he recommends to junior and high schools.
Texas School Districts React
An article about this situation revealed that police learned Williams was officiating games from posts he made online. It also divulged officers had contacted the school district regarding Williams, but no specific details were provided.
Upon learning about Williams’ disturbing history, the districts are taking steps to ensure nothing like this ever happens again. Jeff Meador, spokesperson for a Texas school district, said they are working with legal counsel to create new rules for background screening employees, contractors and volunteers.
Meador said the district is: “increasing procedures to require that all prospective athletic officials submit to a background check through the same system used for booster club members, PTO members, program mentors, and others volunteering on our campuses.”
The Superintendent of Glen Rose district mentioned he was unaware that officials who were brought to them had not been screened. He supports a plan for schools to run comprehensive background checks on all future officials and others who will do any type of work or volunteering on behalf of a school district.
Individuals who are currently officiating for these schools are also being asked to authorize a background check. If anyone refuses, they will no longer be allowed to officiate at district-sponsored events.
What Employers Should Know
The families of students everywhere expect individuals who work with and around young people have been screened to ensure they do not have violent or sexual convictions. Although Williams was not an employee, he did represent the district. This is disturbing news for residents who allow their children to participate in after-school activities.
Every employer is responsible for taking steps to ensure the people they hire are not a risk to other employees or the public. Allowing someone who has a serious conviction to represent your brand reveals you did not perform due diligence. This leads to a loss of trust from people who once relied on you to maintain a safe environment.
If you need to run background checks on people who will represent your brand, please contact us. Our experienced team will help customize screening packages that are ideal for every position. We are available Monday through Friday from 5am to 6pm PT.