This topic was first posted on here:

Can Sex Offenders be firefighters? Should sex offenders be firefighters? What about pardoned ones?

I am currently working on a story and one of the intriguing details is that a current firefighter WAS a convicted sex offender. The person was pardoned and is not a registered sex offender. The offense was bad (they all are). The offense
happened 30 years ago prior to the current laws that protect us from
these criminals. Should he be allowed to be a firefighter?

Here are my thoughts. Sex offenders should not be firefighters. I do not know of a National standard or regulation on this issue. However, if this man was pardoned and the infraction occurred prior to current
regulations should he/she still be punished for a crime they was
pardoned for? After all, they were pardoned and basically the crime is
no longer part of their wrap sheet (hopefully there is nothing else).
This is basically a loophole due to previously lackadaisical laws.

I just wonder if fire departments can legally disqualify someone from being a firefighter for something that might not show up on their background check. I am not sure it would in this case, but what if
someone brought it to the FD’s attention.

The questions are:

  • Should sex offenders be allowed to be firefighters? What about EMT’s?
  • Should previously pardoned sex offenders be allowed to be firefighters?
  • What about EMT’s?
  • Does your department look for this information in their background checks?

Here are some articles I found on the topic of sex offender/firefighters:

NSOPR – National Sex Offender Public Registry

FBI Sex Offender Registry

You might remember a while back that I posted a question on Firefighter Nation about Felons being firefighters. That discussion continues to spark interest from time to time and the conversation is rehashed. My answer remains to be NO. Several people
said that it depended on the crime. My reply….Name a GOOD Felony! I
didn’t think so. Felonies are felonies for a reason. They are crimes.

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Considering you can't be a fireman because of too many speeding tickets, I'd say no. They should not get the chance.
Foor for thought...

In the State of Delaware if you flash or moon someone and get arrested for committing such act, your a sex offender...
Perhaps the category sbould be...

if you have been convicted of harming someone or something

OR currently have a criminal history

... if you have been convicted of harming someone or something you lack the character and common sense required to work in a field in which we protect a vulnerable population

... even if not convicted, a person's history of poor choices would not make them eligible to be a firefighter - consider the understanding of why we gather character and employment references (for every job) which merely give us a snapshot of the person's character - it does not guarantee that it will still get you hired

... even a volunteer department is a job - complete with hiring process. People who volunteer at the hospital or animal shelter can not have a history of harming someone or something

btw - a pardon - is merely a legal category, not a character evaluation. The U.S. President pardons turkeys at Thanksgiving !!!
Or urinating in public.
* Should sex offenders be allowed to be firefighters? What about EMT’s? No and no (unless it was for something along the lines of public urination, flashing\mooning.
* Should previously pardoned sex offenders be allowed to be firefighters? I would say no
* What about EMT’s? No
* Does your department look for this information in their background checks? No comment
Heck NO!!!! How could you trust someone to go into another persons home after being convicted? Would you want a sex offender to go on a call to your house? I don't think so....
Seems I am in agreeance with the majority here. I don't think that emergency responders of any type should have tags with them that associate them with criminal offenses relating to the public. My belief is that if the offence can be done once by an individual, it can be done again. Sure there are rehab facilities that can treat certain disorders, but are they 100% effective? And do you want to take that chance of a member bringing that kind of attention to your department? Pardoned or not, a sex offender is a sex offender.
In our dept., we have three forms to be completed: Criminal record check, vulnerable person check and sex abuse registry check. If incidents such as arson, sex offences or theft present themselves, then the idividual's application is immediately rejected. If there are other questionable results, there will be an interview for discussion of mentioned incident.
Information always has a way of coming out, it seems. And do you really want to be "that department" in the news who has a "so-and-so" for a member? I know I don't.
Good job on the post FC.
I agree Ralph, but there are some "sex offenses" that aren't really sexual.

Let's make this hypothetical. Say a guy is out plowing snow when nature calls. Instead of finding an open gas station or restaurant he uses his truck as a shield to answer that call. Technically this is public urination, even if it is 2 AM and not a person in sight except for the cop and the "offender".

Fortunately this hasn't happened to me, but I know some guys who have been written a ticket for it, but not been charged as a sex offender. As well as the cops by me have common sense for the most part.

So I could see a possible exception, but unlikely.
It is against state law in West Virginia. You cannot be a felon and be a firefighter. Even if it wasn't against the law, I would say not just no, but hell no!
My answer to this is short and sweet "NO"
Qoute Joe "Even if it wasn't against the law, I would say not just no, but hell no!"
In some states, consensual sex between an 18 and 17 year old is considered statutory rape and if convicted earns that person a sexual offender status.

In some states sodemy is considered to be a sexual offense, as is public urination.

Unfortunately there is a very vague line between what constitutes a sexual offense and what may just be a lack of good judgment. A male who has (what he may think is ) consensual intercourse with a women with whom he has been drinking, could be charged with rape if the women later claims she was drunk and unable to reject his advances. False accusations can be very hard to disprove.

So before everyone gets on the 'hang-em-high' bandwagon it makes sense to first understand the scope of the issues involved. Were a parent to have a very innocent naked (or seemingly 'suggestive') picture of their child on their computer and someone were to see it, that parent could be charged as a sexual predator. Sometimes, these things need to be considered on a case-by-case basis. After all, a cute picture in your wallet of your 2 year old son naked in the bathtub with his pee pee showing could get YOU arrested. Does that make you a sex offender?

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