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Can you believe they hired this guy?

Posted by on Oct. 2, 2012 at 8:08 AM
  • 3 Replies

TSA Hires Priest Accused of Molesting Girls to Do Patdowns on Kids

Posted by Ericka Sóuter on October 1, 2012 

tsa A background check is pretty standard for new employees at companies these days. I thought that was especially true of the Transportation and Security Administration, but I was wrong. Turns out the TSA hired a defrocked priest who had been accused of molesting young girls before completing the check. Among his duties when he started: patdowns of children at the Philadelphia International Airport.

Outrageous, right? It's unbelievable that this kind of oversight happens within an organization that will go as far as to make parents remove an infant's Robeez before being carried through the metal detector. But wait! The story actually gets worse.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the agency hired 65-year-old Thomas Harkins, who had been forced to leave the priesthood after he was accused of sexually abusing two school girls. During a period of mass hiring after 9/11, they needed agents so badly they didn't bother to do immediate background checks on each one.

Shockingly, they didin't fire the guy after his background was revealed. The church had apparently informed the TSA of the allegations in 2003, but he was already on the job by then. According to a spokesperson:

[A]n allegation alone does not warrant dismissal or automatically disqualify applicants from employment with the TSA.

During his tenure, Harkins has been promoted and now oversees screening operations for checked bags. He has not patted down passengers since 2004, according to the TSA. Which is somewhat a relief -- I guess. Though, he probably shouldn't have had the job in the first place. He is now one of 4,300 priests identified on the website bishop-accountability.org, which tracks clergy abuse.

The fact that they hired a suspected child molester is one thing, but it's especially troubling that they didn't thoroughly check out the people who were supposed to be protecting us from terrorists after the deadliest attack in American history. I mean, come on TSA! Today, they say they no longer do mass hirings and every employee is thoroughly background checked. But I wonder, how many other sketchy people may they have slipped through the cracks? It's frightening, isn't it?

Can you believe they hired this guy?

by on Oct. 2, 2012 at 8:08 AM
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Replies (1-3):
rangerwife2
by on Oct. 2, 2012 at 8:20 AM
Tsa and I do not currently get along. I am a current cancer patient with a power port in plant to receive all medical and chemotherapy through and when I went through the scanner last month when I was flying home from Maine it was determined that I needed to be patted down. It was more like being felt up and having my life be invaded by the TSA agent.
liveforever
by on Oct. 2, 2012 at 10:57 AM

Thats wrong. I get not everyone accused of something is guilty...but in that line of work I think it would be smart to at least move him to a department where he wouldnt come in physical contact with kids until it is sorted out.

elasmimi
by on Oct. 2, 2012 at 5:49 PM

Correct! I'm sure there were plenty of other positions.

Quoting liveforever:

Thats wrong. I get not everyone accused of something is guilty...but in that line of work I think it would be smart to at least move him to a department where he wouldnt come in physical contact with kids until it is sorted out.


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