Who is Coming into Your House?

Who are you allowing in your House?

Sue Weaver contacted a major department store to have her air ducts cleaned. She didn’t know they were sending a twice-convicted sex offender into her home–and that he would later rape and murder her.

Her sister started a nonprofit organization to raise awareness about this little-known danger. The Sue Weaver C.A.U.S.E. was created to promote Consumer Awareness of Unsafe Service Employment:

Here are a few other victims, courtesy of the Sue Weaver C.A.U.S.E. website:

• Dr. Kim Fang, a plastic surgeon, was murdered by ex-convict Mesa Kasem (and an accomplice) while working as a delivery man for an auction house. Kasem’s first conviction–for firearms offenses–was when he was 17. He was also a gang member. There was no background check.

• Melissa Danielle Jennings was murdered by the apartment complex maintenance man, Calvin Oliver–a convicted rapist. Oliver’s criminal record, spanning almost 20 years, included armed robbery, burglary, robbery by force and credit card fraud. At the time that he was hired by the apartment complex, TGM Ashley Lakes Inc., there was an outstanding warrant for his arrest on theft check charges. He is sentenced to life in prison for murder. There was no background check.

• Mary Ruth Bales, 80, was beaten to death in her home by an ex-convict, Wesley Purkey, who was working as a plumber. He had spent the last 25 years in prison for various violent felonies, including aggravated robbery, burglary, assault and kidnapping. There was no background check.

• Dr. Kerry Spooner-Dean, a pediatrician, was robbed and stabbed to death in her home by Jerrol Woods. When hired by America’s Best Carpet Care, Woods was on parole following a 12-year prison sentence for armed robbery. He had multiple robbery convictions dating back more than 30 years. He was convicted for life without parole. There was no background check.

• Ramona Jean Williamson was strangled to death by Fred Furnish, an employee of Tech Dry. After killing Mrs. Williamson, Furnish used her debit cards to withdraw money from her bank accounts. Furnish had several convictions in Kentucky and Indiana for theft, burglary, receiving stolen money by fraud, and assaulting a prison guard prior to being hired by Tech Dry. There was no background check.

• Terina Ferminick, a minister’s wife, was raped and stabbed to death in the rectory by carpet cleaner, Giles Nadey. He had two previous felony convictions. There was no background check.

We talked to Kevin Connell, founder and CEO of Accu-Screen, Inc., a background screening agency, and author of Background Checks for the Job: What Every Job Applicant, Employee and Employer Needs to Know About Them Right Now, for tips on keeping yourself and your family safe.

• Ask the company if they run criminal background checks on their employees. “Many times, they’ll say they’re bonded and insured,” he says. “But this just means you might get your money back if the employee steals something. It doesn’t mean they run a criminal background check.”

• If a company doesn’t run background checks, don’t do business with them. Otherwise, you could be unwittingly letting a criminal or murderer into your home. Criminals often use service jobs to find their next victims. Connell says that in prison, they often teach criminals trades like plumbing or duct-cleaning that will later bring them into people’s homes.

• It is always a good idea to have another adult in the house when any kind of service is being done. “Invite a friend or neighbor over for coffee, or make sure your husband is there,” says Connell. “If a lot of people are coming in and out, a criminal might be deterred.”

• Don’t think your children are going to protect you. “Attackers often threaten to harm the children if the woman doesn’t do what he wants,” Connell warns. “They use kids against you.”

• Do not hesitate to say “no” if you do not feel safe when the worker arrives. Tell the person an emergency has come up and you’ll have to reschedule.

Have you ever felt unsafe with a service worker in your home?

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