Loophole in law allows admitted criminals to work with elderly - WNEM TV 5

Loophole in law allows admitted criminals to work with elderly

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ATLANTA (CBS46) -

Thousands of Georgians trust someone else to care for their loved ones and they expect them to be trust-worthy - but CBS Atlanta News has uncovered a loophole in the law.

There are three groups which are considered the most vulnerable and are supposed to be protected by law: the elderly, disabled and children. CBS Atlanta News found even if someone's been arrested for a crime against this population and admitted guilt, they still may have a clean record and could be hired to work with them again.     

Scott Walters was good at taking care of himself. But he suddenly found himself needing help at home.

"Fell right there on the patio right at the back door and I spent the night out there," Walters said.

The 87-year-old hired a company to provide in-home care. 

"Preparing my meals, everything other than giving me a bath," Walters said.

The veteran was happy with the care he was receiving. But then he discovered something wasn't right.

"I noticed money was disappearing and I had $100 disappear all at one time," Walters said.

He contacted AmeriCare Home Care. Owner Doug Lueder took action immediately.

"I asked for permission to put in cameras because I won't tolerate it," Lueder said. "It needed to be where we knew the theft was taking place. We knew the money was being taken out of his bedside table."

The video caught the thief taking money out of Walter's wallet.

"I just wished I was in shape where I could take care of it myself," Walters said.

Police arrested Sean Brady. The report states Brady admitted "he had taken money from Mr. Walters' wallet at least twice." A report Brady later wrote said the judge "gave me a big break" and the state solicitor "also gave me a tremendous break."

"I thought East Point police and the judge were stupid. Apparently they patted him on the back, said 'good boy,'" Walters said.

Instead of going to trial, the judge agreed to community service, a theft prevention class and restitution. Upon completion, the charge disappeared from Brady's record. He can work with the elderly again and no one would be the wiser.

"If his background check is clean, he'll probably get another job working with the most vulnerable communities that we need to protect," Lueder said.

Lueder prides himself on the service he provides and he takes more steps than required by the state to check the background of a potential employee.

"I don't want them to not have something on their record that will flag operators and owners like myself when we do the proper things, when we do the background check," Lueder said. 

Walters, a former attorney, recognizes something needs to change. He doesn't want anyone else to be duped.

"I don't know that anybody that came into my house was honest or crooked other than I trusted the company that sent them in. We need to go up and pass a dang law. We don't need to pass a dang law, we need to have one on the books already," Walters said.

There are cases far more severe that won't show up on a background check.

One thing employers can do during the hiring process is ask if a person has been arrested before, rather than just asking if they've been convicted of a crime.     

On Tuesday, CBS Atlanta News will look at the wheel in motion to close one of the loopholes in the law, with a new bill introduced in the Senate.

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