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Should Sex Offenders Be Firefighters? What about Pardoned ones?

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.

Comments - Add Yours

  • Anonymous

    Hey Rhett,

    I have to say I had my “fairness” hat on and decided to read the story. Well, my hat is off and I say this firefighter should have never been allowed back. What the firefighter at Red Oak was charged with in 2003 should have been a major red flag.

    “O’Neal was put on administrative leave after he was charged with indecent liberty with a child, communicating threats, three counts of solicitation prostitution and two counts of crime against nature”

    Now I didn’t look up the charges so I’m taking the word of the author that at least one of these charges is a felony. This is not a simple case of a firefighter who got caught peeing behind the dumpster outside the bar, which, here in Michigan will get you on the sex offender list.

    The tricky thing is since this is a volunteer department. If the department is not connected to a city officially than are they free to have their own hiring standards? Do truly volunteer departments have the same hiring requirements as a city fire department? Just wondering because my city’s department is a POC and we go thru a background check, interview board, agility test, psychological test, and medical exam. Once an application is submitted it is ran through the police department to check an applicant’s criminal and driving history.

    To answer your question Rhett, no, a sex offender should not be allowed to be a first responder, period!

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  • Guest

    To my knowledgem in West Virginia it is sgainst the law for a volunteer fire department to allow anyone with ANY felony on their department.

    • Joshfree09

      not yet in wv that has not passed yet and it is perfectly legal fo a felon to be a firrefighter but i am against a sex offender being one. All other felony crimes fine but a seex offnder NO NOT AT ALL!!!!!

  • ChiefMike

    We do a FULL background check on all of our applicants for on-call firefighters including references and credit checks – AND checking social media sites. We have a former FBI agent (now private investigator) complete these for us. You would be amazed at what shows up. We reject anyone with suspicious backgrounds and felony convictions, as well as if they have certain problems on their driving record (over 4 points disqualifies). We also do annual reviews on our personnel. We adopted this policy about 5 years ago.

  • Captains Wife

    The new fire chief of the volunteer fire department in District 1 of Pointe Coupee Parish Louisiana is a convicted sex offender. Under Louisiana state law for first responders he should have submitted to a background check but he has thus far refused to do that and so is not certified as a first responder. Here are some links to his court records.

    His confession:

    Bill of Information:

  • JohnDoeUtah

    “Any person who uses information contained in or accessed through this Website to threaten, intimidate, or harass any individual, including registrants or family members, or who otherwise misuses this information, may be subject to criminal prosecution or civil liability.”

    According to Louisiana Law, what you are doing here may violate the law and can put you in the position of having civil or criminal charges leavied against you. This man is pardoned, he should have requested expungement after his pardon; then those court records would be off-limits too you. Continue uf you must, but be warned you are playing with fire.

    • Fire Critic


      I am not sure exactly what/who you are pointing to. Please contact me via email ( so that I can clear anything up and to make sure I understand your threat.

      • JohnDoeUtah

        While his individuals court records are public record, positing them on this site, or harping on the fact that he is a sex offender – and using that as a tactic to attack his employment or person – is grounds for both civil and criminal liability. He is pardoned. Does that erase his conviction? No. However, almost every state has a procedure for allowing pardoned persons the ability to automatically get the pardoned charge expunged from thier record; expunged records and proceedings attached too them are usually private records under state law. Disseminating those records, in that situation (which may come one day in this mans case), would be a crime.

        • Fire Critic

          Just to be clear. I have not identified anyone or disseminated any records.

          You might be referring to my saying that I was working on a story. That is not the case anymore as I have found out that it isn’t worth looking into. I have not mentioned any specifics of any case or anything.

          Furthermore, I even mention that:

          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.

          The basis for this post was actually based on a thread I mentioned in the article on Firefighter Nation about felons and was posted a while before this article. That thread was a question based on a certain departments hiring practices and has actually gotten a lot of comments.

          • JohnDoeUtah

            Understandable, however, one of the commentors here has posted the records of the individual you are talking about.

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  • Berniece Adorno

    You know there is a lot of people that do deserve a second chance in life and I do believe all Felons deserve a second chance. I know somebody that use to be a sex offender and he has full custody of 2 of his kids while he was registaring as a sex offender. So if a sex offender did his or her time and paid their dues then they should get pardoned to get better jobs to support their family’s. a sex offender is a person that keeps back to jail for the same thing. if you believe that God can give you a second chance and die for your sins on the cross then Felons could get a second chance 2 that includes sex offenders.

  • AJ Zuccarelli

    Berniece, you are drinking some Kool Aid. Step away from the pitcher. All Men are NOT created equal. Some need to be taken out back, forced to dig their own hole, and shot. Period.

    That said, what about the 19 year old who has a 17 year old girlfriend, and gets popped messing around in the back seat of his car? Consentual, nothing wrong, but society and hard line, law and order politicians call for his head. Now he is a RSO, and can never amount to a hill of beans for the rest of his life. I have zero tolerence for these kind of persecutions.

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  • dittietwin

    I will never defend the child molesters like Sandusky and those who actually seek children; true predators, but there are good people who made bad decisions with consenting minors. Yes, they should have known better, but many are not violent nor terrible people. They get punished and when they get out of prison, they continue to get punished. They deserve a second chance, and I don’t need to know who they are by reading their names on a list. I wonder why those convicted of arson are not banned from living near buildings; wife beaters are not banned from living near women, murderers not banned from living near any store that sells weapons. I want to know who is a real child predator, rather than trying to figure out on a list who is an 18 year old who had sex with his 16 year old girlfriend and who is now 30 years old and married to her! I would rather have the sex acts where consenting was involved to be labeled something like Domestic Relationship Abuse, or Child Relationship Misconduct. It’s time to differentiate so I know who I really need to fear. We will never know the true story behind thousands of these sex cases because the Sex Offender list is messed up. If this fireman does not have a history of sex abuse, and it was one incident, then figure it out. “Sex offenders should not be firefighters.” How naive is that? “They are all bad.” Really? you know these people personally? Let he without sin cast…..

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  • mike

    Sex offenders in general, are scum of the earth and shouldn’t be allowed in society bottom line. Any child molester or rapists need not be in any organizations of any kind. My 14 year old daughter is a victim of a pervert sex offender. She was sexually assaulted from age 8 to age 12. I have no remorse for pedophiles

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  • Steve B

    Should all sex offenders be treated the same? Remember the 19 yo that has sex with his girlfriend the day before her 17th birthday, would be on the list if convicted of the act. What about this kid that gets on the level 1 list and does his time, and walks the straight and narrow. I don’t believe all levels of offender should be considered the same. I believe that is the reason for having the different levels.