A child sex sting brings down a doctor and church youth director, medical marijuana research finally gets rolling, and ride-share companies are accused (again) of negligent screening practices. Today’s EBI Screening News Weekly Wrap presented by Jennifer Gladstone reminds us all about the importance of comprehensive and continuous background checks.
Child Sex Sting Busts Church Youth Director, Doctor
A church youth director and an emergency room physician are among 104 people arrested in a massive human trafficking and child sex sting in central Ohio. Twenty-four men were arrested for soliciting minors on the internet, another 36 men were charged with trying to buy sex.
The sting, known as “Fourth and Goal,” spanned three counties and involved 30 law enforcement agencies. Officers posed as children online and talked with men.
“In the past 24 hours we have learned, as you have, of a law enforcement sting conducted on human trafficking and prostitution. Our hearts are broken for those who experience the devastation and pain from these terrible crimes. Our own Youth Director in training was one of those arrested during this operation. Because we take this issue seriously, we have taken immediate action and have removed this person from his position.”
-Redeemer’s at Courtright Church
Forty-three women arrested for prostitution were connected with social services and referred to Ohio’s CATCH (Changing Actions to Change Habits) Court, a special program for women who are victims of human trafficking.
It’s not clear yet if any of the men arrested in this sting are registered sex offenders or have previous criminal records involving sex crimes. However, this chilling story is a sober reminder about the importance of running pre-employment criminal background checks, sex offender searches, AND continuous screening after hiring.
There are two main types of sex offender registry criminal records searches:
- A Nationwide Sex Offender Search
- A Single-state Sex Offender Search
Click here to chat with an EBI product specialist to learn more about EBI’s sex offender search offerings.
Does Medical Marijuana Really Control Pain?
You’ve probably heard the terms THC and CBD by now. They’re both components of marijuana. Even though cannabis has been around since 2727 B.C., researchers still don’t know a lot about these ingredients and how they work. The U.S. government is spending $3 million to find out more, though. Nine research grants will help scientists study medical marijuana. Specifically, they’re examining CBD, the trendy ingredient medical marijuana advocates say alleviates chronic pain. Scientists will also explore what parts of medical marijuana are beneficial to humans and whether the “high” from THC can be avoided (although THC itself won’t be studied).
This research is being sparked, in part, by the nation’s opioid addiction crisis . There is heavy interest in finding safer alternatives to chronic pain management than prescription painkillers like OxyContin. The studies will use lab-made versions of the chemicals found in Cannabis instead of actual plants. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health is funding the projects and says there is potential for a second round of grants.
Federal law still classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 illegal drug and therefore prohibits research on it. As more states legalize pot (11 states and Washington, D.C. have legalized recreational and medical marijuana use, and 19 states have legalized medical marijuana), many health experts say the lack of research poses a public risk.
Drug testing will continue to evolve just as these laws and research findings do. EBI is committed to helping clients create a safe and compliant drug-free workplace.
We know this is a hot-button issue for many people and we’re here to help. We’re launching an “Ask an Expert” feature so you can get your burning screening questions answered. Send us your question and we might feature it in an upcoming segment!
Did Lyft Fail to do the Heavy Lifting of Screening Drivers?
Should ride-share drivers be allowed to remain behind the wheel if a complaint has been lodged against them? What if that complaint involves a crime like sexual assault, rape, kidnapping, or harassment?
That’s the core question involving a slew of new lawsuits filed against ride-sharing companies like Lyft and Uber. In California, 14 women have filed a lawsuit accusing Lyft of not only failing to properly screen their drivers, but of mishandling the aftermath of sexual assaults that happened as a result. In some of those cases, drivers reportedly continued working even after being accused of sexual assault. These lawsuits come after seven other women filed suits against the company last summer.
A statement by a Lyft spokesperson acknowledges the women’s stories are terrifying, but that the company stands by its background check system. However, an attorney in the latest lawsuit claims the company’s policy of using name-based checks is insufficient and they should include fingerprint-based checks in their screening.
More Information: Learn More About the Different Types of Criminal Records Searches
Meanwhile, the Portland Bureau of Transportation in Oregon is steering the issue themselves having suspended or revoked permits for 168 ride-share drivers from both Uber and Lyft for offenses ranging from traffic violations to sexual assault and even attempted murder! A Bureau spokesperson says they uncovered the drivers by doing random checks across the system. They now do a full criminal history and sex offender list check for 80 randomly selected drivers each month.
"We want these consumers to be safe, in terms of physical safety and the mechanical safety of the cars as well as the drivers, so we would like Uber and Lyft to do everything that they can to make sure that that takes place. We’re still going to continue to do our own checks, we found it a good backup system to enhance consumer protections."
-John Brady, director of communications at the Portland Bureau of Transportation
The Bureau has also added continuous monitoring so the city will be notified if a driver has a run-in with the law.
ICYMI: Roadside marijuana test results are going up in smoke. Find out what law enforcement agencies around the world are doing about driving drugged in the EBI Screening News Weekly Wrap. Subscribe here.