2019Sex Offenders
Sex Offender Registry

Written By ESR News Blog Editor Thomas Ahearn

A safe hiring expert commenting on a report from the Indianapolis Star about a former employee of the Indiana Pacers who worked for the team “despite previously being convicted of raping a teenager” said the decision of whether or not employers should conduct background checks on job applicants is “really a no-brainer.”

The Indianapolis Star reports that former Indiana Pacers Director of International Scouting Pete Philo – a registered sex offender who resigned from the team in 2016 – “pled guilty to four counts of third-degree rape of a 15-year-old near Albany, New York, in 2000 when he was 26,” citing details from a report by Deadspin.

Philo “also pled guilty to four misdemeanor counts of endangering the welfare of a child and four misdemeanor counts of sexual abuse” and “was sentenced to a year in jail and released after eight months” despite a maximum potential penalty of 24 years in prison, according to Deadspin.

Attorney Lester Rosen – founder and Chief Executive Officer of global background check firm Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – “said he does not know anything about Philo and could only speak generally about backgrounds checks and what employers should do,” the Indianapolis Star reports.

“Although it is complex and it has a lot of moving parts and there are a lot of legal compliance issues, in terms of employers it’s really a no-brainer,” Rosen told the Indianapolis Star about background checks. “It’s quick. It’s easy to set up. There’s a lot of firms that offer services. It’s relatively inexpensive.”

Rosen – author of “The Safe Hiring Manual” – said background checks have “become a standard, due diligence part of the hiring process for most employers.” However, “simply having a criminal record, even for a sexual offense, cannot be used to automatically disqualify a candidate,” he added.

“Frankly, even a person who has committed a sexual crime is entitled to employment, but the type of employment they ought to get normally is employment where others aren’t put at risk,” Rosen told the Indianapolis Star. “There’s a job for everybody, but everyone isn’t entitled to every job.”   

Philo appears on the National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) but it is “unclear whether he was able to build his NBA career because the league was lax in its background-checking process, because Philo lied on his resumes and bios, or both,” according to Deadspin.

The Indianapolis Star reports that the Pacers “did not immediately respond when asked for information on the franchise’s process for background checks in the hiring process” but the team did “confirm Mr. Philo has not been employed by or affiliated with the Indiana Pacers since 2016.”

A survey of Human Resource (HR) professionals released in May 2019 by the National Association of Professional Background Screeners (NAPBS) and HR.com revealed that 96 percent of employers conducted some type of background check on job applicants, up by one percentage point from 2018.

Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) – a leading global provider of background checks – offers sex offender registry searches to help employers find out if their job candidates are registered sex offenders. To learn more, visit www.esrcheck.com/Background-Checks/Sex-Offender-Registry-Searches/.

NOTE: Employment Screening Resources® (ESR) does not provide or offer legal services or legal advice of any kind or nature. Any information on this website is for educational purposes only.

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