Two different hotels in Mesa, Arizona are being sued by guests who say they were raped by Jason Brown, who worked at each of the hotels as an overnight clerk.
As it turns out, Jason Brown is registered as a level-3 sex offender (those most likely to reoffend) whose criminal history includes felony convictions for:
- Aggravated criminal sexual abuse (victim 13 to 16 years of age)
- Credit card fraud
- Possession of a stolen vehicle
He also has misdemeanor convictions for:
- Impersonating a law enforcement officer
- Driving while license suspended
- Disorderly conduct
- Writing a bad check
- Numerous traffic violations.
According to court filings, Brown was employed at the Best Western Superstition Springs in Mesa, Arizona as a night-shift clerk and accused by a guest there of raping her. He subsequently went to work for the Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites, where another guest accused him of rape nine months after the first allegation. In both cases, the victims said that he used his hotel master key to gain access to their hotel rooms.
According to AZCentral.com, Brown was not criminally prosecuted for either offense because of problems collecting DNA evidence. Now, the two women are suing his former employers in Maricopa County Superior Court for failing to exercise due diligence in their hiring process. The AZCentral.com story suggests that in the case of the Marriott franchisee that was the case:
Mike Wimbush, of MLEM Properties, is quoted in a Mesa police report as telling investigators “he typically does not conduct background checks on front desk clerks.”
Regardless of whether Brown committed the offenses alleged in the civil suits, it seems clear that someone with his criminal history should not have access to hotel guests. Even beyond the obviously disqualifying sexual abuse of a child, I would suggest that his theft and credit card fraud records would give most employers pause when considering him for a job dealing with consumer’s personal information and credit card information.
Additionally, while the EEOC would like to see a “close nexus” between the offense and the job responsibilities, most employers recognize that an ongoing pattern of bad behavior and critical errors in judgment predict poor job performance.
The fact that franchisees of major hotel chains failed to conduct due diligence when hiring a new employee is no real surprise. Many employers seems to associate how much an employee is being paid with the risk they pose to the organization.
I’m sure that both of these franchisees now wish they had spent $150 on a through criminal background check.
Imperative always recommends that employers consider the risks associated with putting someone with a history of bad acts in a particular job. The pay level of the employee is irrelevant to the risk they may pose. At a minimum, a thorough criminal background check should include research in all of the counties, states, and federal districts where the applicant has lived, worked, or attended school for at least the last 10 years.