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2004-08-28
Columbia, S.C. Wal-Mart Doesn't Want to Release Its List of Employees for Sex Offender Check.

Wal-Mart is trying to convince a judge in Columbia, South Carolina not to force the company to release a list of its employees, so that local officials can compare it to the state's sex-offender registry. The plea from Wal-Mart comes in a lawsuit that is playing out in a Richland County lawsuit. On August 12th, Wal-Mart suddenly announced that it was going to begin doing criminal background checks on all its new hires, nationwide. On that same day, according to the Myrtle Beach Sun newspaper, a Circuit Judge ordered the company to release its South Carolina employee records for comparison with the sex-offender registry maintained by the State Law Enforcement Division. Columbia lawyer David Massey wants to ascertain just how many sex offenders have been employed at Wal-Mart stores nationwide. Massey is representing the families of two girls who claim they were molested in Wal-Mart supercenters located in the cities of Columbia and Orangeburg, by Wal-Mart employees who were registered sex offenders. "If Wal-Mart is so squeaky clean, they should have no problem totally complying with the order," the lawyer said earlier this week. The judge gave Wal-Mart until August 22nd. to comply with his request for the release of employee records. Wal-Mart has some 25,000 employees in South Carolina. The company says the judge's order for the release of its employee records for the past five years was "an abuse of discretion." Wal-Mart does not want to release any information prior to 2000, when it employed the man who was found guilty of the assault on one of the girls. The Wal-Mart employee involved was working in the electronics department of their Forest Drive store when he fondled a 10-year-old girl Sept. 25, 2000, the lawsuit said. The worker had been in Wal-Mart's employ since 1997. He pled guilty in 2002 to the crime and received a 10-year sentence. He died about six months later. In the second case, a 12-year-old girl said she was molested July 3 by a Wal-Mart employee in the Orangeburg supercenter. A Wal-Mart employee from Orangeburg has been charged in that case.

What you can do: One would think that Wal-Mart, the largest employer in America, which has to replace some 600,000 workers every year, would have long ago established a criminal background check, and sex registry check for its potential hires. Now, when two of its employees are charged with molesting children, the company is trying to block the families who want more information about how many other Wal-Mart workers may be listed on a sex registry. It would appear that the company took no steps to protect its customers from sexual predators, and once "exposed", worked to resist the victim's efforts to uncover the full extent of the problem. At Wal-Mart, they like to say "Our People Make the Difference." In this case, Wal-Mart appears to be indifferent to the efforts of the victim's families to get justice for what happened to them.










 
 
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