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Saturday, June 15, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Security Co. Faces Claim Over Background Check

(CN) - A security company must face a negligent hiring complaint after one of its employees raped a 14-year-old girl, the Washington Court of Appeals ruled.

Teresa Rucshner sued on her own behalf and as the guardian of the girl. The defendants were Puget Sound Protection, ADT Security Systems and American Security Services. The latter two companies were dismissed, but Judge Hunt ruled that Puget Sound must go to trial.

Overturning the trial court's summary judgment for the defendants, Judge Hunt ruled that a trial court must determine whether Puget's failure to conduct a criminal background check on Robinson led to his rape of the girl.

When Robinson applied to work for Puget, he checked "no" on the questions about criminal history. In fact, he had been convicted of criminal impersonation, theft, and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.

Puget did not perform a criminal background check and sent Robinson on door-to-door sales calls to sell ADT security services.

After the girl's mother refused Robinson's sales pitch, the daughter, calling through an open window, apologized for her mother's rude behavior. Robinson talked to the girl, but she refused to divulge her phone number.

Still, Robinson found it and called her several times. One day when her mother was away, Robinson invaded the home and raped the girl. She called the police, who captured Robinson when he arranged to visit the girl again. He was convicted of rape, rape of a child, and marijuana possession.

"Puget's contractual warranty that 'all of its employees' had undergone criminal background checks and drug screens creates a genuine issue of material fact as to whether its breach of contractual duty proximately caused harm to (the girl)," Hunt wrote.

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