Mayor calls for better background checks on all city employees - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Kontji Anthony

Mayor calls for better background checks on all city employees

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton said there needs to be better background checks for all city employees.

Action News 5 talked to the Mayor after this former city pool attendant was charged with raping a 17-year old girl.

Timothy Payne had a criminal record.

Police said Payne also knew he had HIV when he raped the teen.

The mayor and city council members said this cannot happen again.

Memphis Mayor Willie Herenton said anyone who does any work for the city should face a background check.

"We obviously know that now we have to change our background check procedures.  We have to look at temps, we have to look at everyone," Herenton said.

The city fired former city parks pool attendant Timothy Payne when a 17-year-old girl accused him of rape.

Payne had a history of sexual assaults and police say he may have assaulted many other underage females knowing he was infected with HIV.
 
"The public deserves answers, the public will get answers.  I assure you," council member Myron Lowery said.

Councilman Myron Lowery said he will investigate.

"The council is concerned about it, we remain concerned.  We've got to find out exactly what happened," Lowery said.

He wants the full story from city administrators.

"We need to talk with the city's personnel director to find out what changes were made a few months ago, why this person fell through the cracks and we need to ensure that this will never happen again," Lowery said.

The city said they hired Payne in 2006, but did not begin background checks until 2007.


"The HR, along with legal. They are looking at ways in which we can better screen employees and safeguard our operation," Herenton said.

Lowery wants to implement an ongoing review of background checks for Parks Services Department so this never happens again

Police are asking victims to call the Sex Crimes Bureau at 901-545-5330.


Click here to e-mail Kontji Anthony.

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