How did accused molester pass Wal-Mart background check?

Jeremy Aldrich -- July 27th, 2008

Recently, an 8-year old boy was allegedly assaulted in the bathroom of the Dayton Wal-Mart. The suspect was an employee of the store, 30-year old Felix Alberto Martinez-Pacheco. Martinez-Pacheco, originally from Puerto Rico, told police that he had previously served 9 years in jail over a similar allegation involving a 7-year old boy, according to the DNR.

Martinez-Pacheco is listed in the National Sex Offender Registry. Wal-Mart says it started performing background checks on pre-hire employees in 2004. How did a sex offender who served significant jail time for a previous offense get a job which put him in contact with children?

Interestingly, the accused’s record in the national registry says in Spanish that he moved to Virginia, but he is not listed in Virginia’s sex offender registry.

Wal-Mart has been in hot water before over sexual assaults on minors by employees. In a previous lawsuit concerning a 10-year old girl who was molested in a South Carolina Wal-Mart in 2000, the company escaped a judgment of negligence in part because it insisted it had no obligation to check the criminal backgrounds of employees. An article on about the case notes that at the time of the judgment Wal-Mart was facing similar suits in six states.

Now that Wal-Mart claims to perform criminal background checks before hiring, is their level of responsibility different?

21 Responses to “How did accused molester pass Wal-Mart background check?”

  1. finnegan says:

    I would think very few employers actually follow through with background checks.

    I knew a girl in Harrisonburg that was fired from her retail job for embezzlement. She was prosecuted and found guilty of larceny, I think. Then, a year later, she was fired from another retail job for the same thing. Obviously, the employer didn’t check.

    The major difference is that Wal-Mart is very sue-able. Everyone knows they have deep pockets, and so you would think a place with such stringent “corporate policies” would adhere to the background check protocol.

  2. Mike says:

    Gee, they seem so stringent about who they hire. I mean, they even ask you right on the application if you’ve ever stolen from an employer before…

    (No offense to anyone who works/worked there.)

  3. linz says:

    And just to show, sex offender lists ARE included in the standard background check.

  4. zen says:

    Clearly Wal*Mart doesn’t have stringent “corporate policies” in it’s hiring practices. “Operation Rollback” found 61 stores in 21 states that used cleaning services operating teams of undocumented immigrants—netting 250 arrests.
    I’d suspect that any accountability in the Dayton episode will be focused on the individual HR manager. Along with those deep pockets comes a lot of lawyer and PR power to fight tarnishing the national brand.

  5. Frank J Witt says:

    Speaking of our lovely big box store…just stopped in to look at new digital cameras. Note 1 – they are not back in with the music and other electronics (wanna know how I know?) 3 yep, 3 sales persons standing around back there when I asked where the cameras where…The girl looks at me with the eyes rolling out of her head…”Duh, they are up where the photo development stuff is…geez”

    Ok, I’m dumb, so shoot me. 5 lines open with 10-13 people waiting per line…move those lazy ignorant bitches out of music and put them up front!

    Now, let me thank the lady that helped me in cameras. Of course I didn’t get her name, but damn, she was really helpful and actually got me to by a 8 mega pix for less than $100 and then sold me a 1 G card for 12.88…

    It doesn’t surprise me that they would not investigate their employees too far, but geez…

  6. Frank J Witt says:

    Apparently my last WM post got tossed but it’s cool…

  7. Emmy says:

    I am certain that Wal-Mart isn’t the only store who should, but does not do background checks. I would agree with the statement that they have the money to fight it should someone sue so they aren’t as careful as they should be. I assume that there is proof that the background check wasn’t done on this man. As far as I know, I’ve never had an employer perform a background check on me, but I wonder what all is in them (guess I need to go Google) and how accurate they are. Needless to say that I hope that this at least forces our local stores to do the checks and I’m sorry that someone was harmed before it happened.

    I’m not a Wal-Mart fan by any means and I don’t shop there very much anymore. But, I don’t hate the place either and I find that our local stores seemed to be managed pretty well (this aside obviously). Most of the employees are friendly and helpful and just try to get through like the rest of us. I do sincerely hope that they make sure this never happens again.

  8. Frank J Witt says:

    Emmy, as parents, we both none of this stuff happens but until we can somehow control the HUMAN side of it, it will continue. What drives pervs to do this is beyond my comprehension and I will promise to go to jail for the first MF that touches any of our girls, although they are now 16 at the youngest. If I would ever witness some kind of this crap, I would be arrested fr the damage I would do to this scumbag…

    That being said, I did get a great deal on a cool camera…just saying….

  9. Barnabas says:

    If all of America was run like a Wal-Mart we would be a communist country. The chinese must be very greatful to all of the work wal-mart alone provides their country. The only reason I’ve been in a wal-mart in the past couple of years is to return things that other people have bought me or my family. I worked there for seven years and have had other business dealings with them since I’ve left. They do a very good job of fooling us into thinking that they are a good company. I understand why people shop there but with what I know about that company I cannot shop there. We are so defined in this society as consumers so how and where I consume is important to me. The managers I respected most when I worked there have all left the company for reasons of morality.

  10. Frank J Witt says:

    nope, sorry it didn’t hold the lines. But Barnabas is right, mostly.

  11. zen says:

    heh…Seems like employees should do background checks on their employers.

  12. David Miller says:

    I HATE Walmart, they do so many bad things for our community ……………buttt.

    I don’t think that companies should have to do background checks on their applicants. Fascism is so close already, mandated drug testing, dna testing, databases set up for all of it. I won’t be the one to cheerlead the demise of the republic.

  13. Brooke says:

    Dave is right. While I understand the allure of having one less potential predator in the store at any given moment, the background check would have done nothing to keep this kid safe, and would only have provided a false sense of security.

    1. It has not been verified that the man worked for Walmart at the time of the attack. He very well could have been fired before it happened, and was just wearing the badge.

    2. Even if he’d been fired before this happened, or not hired at all, because of the it doesn’t prevent him from being in the store as a customer. The kid didn’t open the stall door because he saw a Wal-mart employee badge. The man forced the door open. So his working or not working at Wal-mart really has nothing to do with what happened.

    3. For every known, registered sex offender, there are that many more that haven’t been caught, that no background check would ever catch.

    4. This false sense of security leads us to believe our kids are safe when they’re not. Similar to believing your kids are safer in the Target restroom (as I’ve seen claimed elsewhere). Boloney. The moment you think your kid is perfectly safe anywhere out of your direct line of sight, is the moment you let something happen.

    Our kids need to be taught how to protect themselves, and until they’re able to run, kick, scream, do whatever they can to get away from a predator, then we need to do whatever we can to make sure they stay safe. That we know who they’re with, where they are, and that someone we trust is watching them, if we’re not there. Can’t prevent everything from happening or live in a bubble, but we CAN make sure we don’t get lulled into false senses of security or measures that may not prevent something from happening at all.

    As far as public restrooms go, my young son is not permitted to set foot in a public restroom without my husband or I. If he and I are out, he comes with me into the ladies room. And if that bothers a lady in there (as long as he’s behaving and minding his own business) then that’s just too bad. His safety is more important than some stranger’s approval. He’ll continue until I am confident he knows how to handle a situation where someone is trying to be inappropriate with him.

  14. Christa says:

    Heck, I do background checks on my tenants. Always did them on new employees. Guess I’m just paronoid.

  15. David Miller says:

    Christa, I don’t think you are paranoid at all. You’re just a realist.

    I simply wanted to point out (thank you Brooke, elequent as ever) that we really don’t need the government dictating more and more of our affairs.

  16. Brian M says:

    Brooke, your comments have amazed and fascinated me for some time. Your eloquent and commonsense approach at situations makes me very glad that you are one of my neighbors in this community. Don’t move. Educated voices of sanity are rare around here. lol

    Thanks again!

  17. Brooke says:

    Don’t worry, Brian. The only place we’re moving is into town. :-) And thanks for your kind words (both of you)!

  18. Emmy says:

    I totally agree with Brooke. I have two young boys and when I’m out with them they go into the bathroom with me. They are just starting to get old enough that I’ve had a few strange looks, but its something that others will just have to get over.

    I read some message boards dealing with parenting and I’m always amazed when mothers freak out when a sex offender moves into their neighborhood. They vow to make the persons life a nightmare so they’ll move and they are so outraged that its happening in their community. Certainly they have the right to be upset, but I always remind them that at least they know about this person and can be move vigilant. Its all those who have yet to offend or who have yet to be caught that they should be more concerned with. It never seems to get through.

  19. Brooke says:

    I’m with you, Emmy. Not keen on the idea of a convicted sex offender in the neighborhood, but just the same, in a way, I’d almost rather know where the guys are, so I can keep an eye on them, and my kids around them.

    And something else to remember it that not all guys on the sex offender registry are pedophiles, or even rapists. Being 19 and having a consensual relationship with a 16 or 17 year old, can get you on the registry, if her parents get mad enough about it. A relative of mine just celebrated her 12th anniversary with her husband, and, just before they married, her parents almost had him arrested for statutory rape because they were mad about them being together when she was 16. Now, I can’t say I blame them for being mad about it. But rape? A criminal record? Being a registered sex offender and probably facing being run out of neighborhoods for the rest of his life? I’m glad they reconsidered.

    And again, like you said, running those guys out of the neighborhood, especially ones who were not convicted of crimes against children, doesn’t in any way keep our kids safe, because it doesn’t do a thing to protect against unregistered or pedophiles who haven’t been caught yet.

    While we *definitely* need to be careful about our kids being in public restrooms alone, and be leery of strangers approaching or watching little kids, the sad fact is, like rape, MOST kids are molested by someone they know and trust, not a complete stranger. Mommy’s new boyfriend/husband, the nice neighbor next door, an uncle or cousin, a neighbor kid who was abused themselves.

    It’s not just creepy strangers lurking in bathroom stalls, or registered sex offenders by any stretch of the imagination.

  20. Don says:

    What makes me mad, is that there are legit people who makes mistakes and are really trying to turn their life in the right direction. And there are those who couldn’t care less, those are the ones that make it hard on the trying ones. Everyone has problems and doesn’t choose them, if that were the case I am pretty sure Sex offenders would pick another probelm.

  21. rv says:

    I think it is terrible to hold something against someone such as a drug offense or even a theft charge in which a person was convicted when they were 18-20 years old and are now almost 30. A child molestor is a different story since they are proven to never change.

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