How did a registered sex offender who was recently convicted of exposing himself to a child end up working as the Easter Bunny at a North Dakota mall?
According to news reports, Daniel Sanderson landed the job in Minot, North Dakota, as the beloved children’s character just months after he pleaded guilty to the sex offense. He was hired by a temporary employment agency, Command Center, to work as the Easter Bunny for Cherry Hill Photo Enterprises at Dakota Square Mall.
An attorney for Command Center said Sanderson, 24, gave his middle name as his last name, presenting himself to the employment agency as Daniel Elwell. Company representatives said they did not realize the suspect’s last name was Sanderson — or that he was a registered sex offender — until he was later arrested.
No Criminal Background Checks Conducted
Command Center’s attorney noted in a statement that no criminal background check was conducted for Sanderson before he was hired as the Easter Bunny, despite the fact that he would work with children. He said that local employees for the company had been “counseled” and that company officials felt confident that such an oversight would not occur again.
It’s A Violation For A Registered Sex Offender Not To Register
A Minot police captain said that following a move, Sanderson had not updated his contact information as required to do for a registered sex offender. At the time that Sanderson was working as the Easter Bunny, officers were awaiting issuance of a warrant for allegedly violating his probation. Officers then received a tip on Sanderson’s whereabouts and were able to arrest him.
The Importance of Proper Pre-Employment Screening
Despite Sanderson’s alleged failure to update his registered sex offender contact information as required, a criminal background check would have turned up the critical information about the indecent exposure conviction, the police captain noted. Simply checking the website for the North Dakota courts would provide a record of criminal convictions.
Criminal background checks are an important component of the hiring process for many types of jobs. For individuals who will work around children, senior citizens, disabled individuals and other vulnerable populations, such pre-employment background screening should not be considered optional.