A handful of lawmakers are calling for an investigation into the U.S. Census Bureau’s hiring of a sex offender as a manager in its Charlotte, North Carolina office.
Kenneth Mabry, 44, was hired in August of last year by the Census Bureau despite being on the sex registry list for multiple years.
“This hiring is incredibly concerning and should have been easily avoided,” Sen. Tom Tillis (R-NC) told FOX46. “This was clearly a failure on the part of the Census Bureau and we need to find out how this happened and how we can prevent such gross oversights moving forward.”
Democratic representatives Alma Adams and David Price have also demanded an investigation into the hiring of Mabry.
Mabry was convicted in 2013 of molesting an 11-year-old girl in Missouri. Mabry was sentenced to three years probation and a minimum of 10 years on the sex registry. On March 12, he was arrested for allegedly “engaging in a sex act” with a nine-year-old girl. This arrest is what brought his dark past to light.
“We remain committed to hiring practices that are fair and ensure safety to the public,” the Census Bureau said in a public statement about Mabry. “We have rigorous hiring procedures and checks in place to catch these issues early in the hiring process and deal with them in the appropriate manner.”
The Department of Commerce, which oversees the Census Bureau, also released a public statement acknowledging the outrage over Mabry’s hiring.
“We have spoken to the Census Bureau about this matter to ensure its hiring and vetting procedures are adhered to fully going forward,” the statement read. “The Office of Inspector General is evaluating the Bureau’s response to this issue, and we will review those findings with the Bureau to ensure we do everything possible to prevent this from happening again. This remains an ongoing personnel matter.”
What makes the Census Bureau look worse in this situation is that the OIG (Office of the Inspector General) warned the government organization last year that its background checks were not up to par.
“We found that the Bureau has developed policies and procedures for conducting background checks on temporary employees, but quality assurance weaknesses jeopardize the effectiveness of those procedures,” the report read. “Public-opinion polling, conducted earlier this decade by the Bureau, indicated that U.S. residents are concerned about the risk associated with potentially hiring people with criminal backgrounds to work on the 2020 Census. The Bureau must mitigate this risk.”
“They potentially put so many people at risk,” a whistleblower told FOX46 about the Census Bureau hiring Mabry. “This should have popped up in his background investigation. It’s a big mistake. A really big mistake. I’m angry.”
The employee went on to say that one of Mabry’s jobs was recruiting for the Bureau, which put him in contact with a variety of people at various events.
“He was at churches. He was at parades. He was at community fairs,” the employee said. “It’s upsetting. It’s scary.”
Mabry no longer works for the U.S. Census Bureau and he is expected in court in July.
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