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October 9th, 2014 | Sterling

Gymnastics Coach Has Parents Flipping Out Over Inappropriate Conduct With Students

Gymnastics Coach Has Parents Flipping Out Over Inappropriate Conduct With Students | SterlingBackcheck

Justin Henry, a 21 year old gymnastics coach has found himself in hot water over some inappropriate behavior with one of his teenage students… again. It was only a few months earlier that he allegedly picked up some 14 year old former students in the middle of the night, took them to the beach, and allowed them to drink alcohol. He was charged with three counts of interfering with child custody.

In the more recent incident, Henry was allegedly involved in a sexual encounter with the 13 year old student. He was found hiding in the girl’s closet and the student later told police that she and Henry had engaged in sexual intercourse.

So why was Henry allowed to continue teaching gymnastics after the first incident? The gym owners were unaware of the charges relating to the former students and his co-workers were shocked to learn about the two incidents.

Henry was a well-respected coach and the facility had taken measures to prevent any abuse of their students, including background checks, a two coach at all times policy, and security cameras covering every inch of the premises. According to the Florida-based gymnastics center, they conduct background checks when new employees are hired. They also go one step further and re-screen their staff every two years. This is more than many organizations do, even those involving children.

The gymnastics center certainly followed best practices and took measures to protect their students. And to be clear, neither of the incidents took place while Henry was on duty or at the facility. The manager of the gym has stated that in light of the incident involving Henry, they have decided to increase their screening intervals to every six months. They feel that the more frequent background checks will further strengthen their screening program and prevent any occurrences like this from happening in the future.

Background checks are a snapshot in time so essentially, the information becomes dated minutes after the check is completed. Even re-screening every six months leaves room for employees to commit crimes that go undetected. Wouldn’t it be easier to have an alert system in place that notifies employers of potential criminal activity, instead of constantly re-running the background checking process?

Alerting services for criminal complaints exist today and they can help employers monitor their staff on a continuous or regularly scheduled basis. And they provide an alternative to constantly re-screening. They can notify an employer when one of their staff members has been arrested in close to real time.

Background screening is most commonly conducted prior to employment. There is no rule that says that criminals must be unemployed when they commit a crime, so surely they must work somewhere. In fact, continual employee monitoring is a valuable tool for employers. Continual employee monitoring and risk alerts help employers identify potential criminal activity conducted by their employees. In the case of the gymnastics facility, had they been alerted to the original charges they may have suspended or relieved Henry of his duties and prevented him from accessing other students for personal reasons.

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