I almost didn’t post this article because by doing so someone is going to get the great idea to propose a law which is exactly why WSET ran the story.
But WSET already started the ball rolling so my post can’t be to blame.
Business Won't Say If They Do Background Checks on Local Mall Santas, December 17, 2014
There are no laws there to keep it from happening... and as we told you -- here in
So ABC 13 checked with River Ridge mall in
to see if they do background checks. Lynchburg
They told us they contract with an outside company for their Santas - Cherry Hill Photo.
But when we tried to ask them if they do background checks-- they refused to answer any questions.
And of course they're prohibited from being near schools, parks and the like.
Doucette says he would hope companies hiring Santas would do the right thing.
Doucette also says the registry is public and encourages anyone to check it out themselves.
There are no laws to prevent that from happening here in
Lynchburg Commonwealth's Attorney Mike Doucette says there are only two jobs in the Code of Virginia prohibits registered sex offenders from holding, a school bus driver, and a tow truck driver.
He says all registered sex offenders cannot be within more than 100 feet of any school, playground, or gymnasium, and they can't live within 500 feet of schools and parks. So if a sex offender dressed as Santa visited a school or daycare, they would be violating the law.
However, there is no law that prohibits sex offenders from going to malls--one of the most popular places to visit Santa this time of year, or from dressing up as Santa for that matter.
Doucette says the sex offender registry is out there for the public to be aware and check, and he encourages everyone to do so. He says although doing a background check isn't required, he would hope those responsible for hiring Santas would use the information that's available to them and check the sex offender registry.
"There's sort of a moral requirement that you take a look at this especially when you're employing someone to be in close proximity of very susceptible children. Santa, I take my grandchildren to see the Santa, the children sit on his lap, you know, Santa is somebody you're supposed to trust," said Doucette.
Doucette says if an offender is on probation, one common rule is to not be within a certain number of feet of children without adult supervision, but once that probation period is over, that rule ends. He says probation time varies by case, it could be months, years, and in rare cases, a lifetime.