Priest Defrocked Due To Sex Abuse Charges Now Works For TSA

Apparently, the TSA doesn’t care much about previous work history in its hiring process:

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – The CBS 3 I-Team has learned that a Catholic priest who was removed from the ministry over sex abuse allegations now holds a sensitive security post at Philadelphia International Airport.

The security checkpoint between Terminals D and E is a busy place where thousands of people – including lots of kids – pass through every day. But you might not believe who the I-Team observed working as a TSA supervisor at that checkpoint this week: Thomas Harkins.

Until 2002, Harkins was a Catholic priest working at churches across South Jersey. But the Diocese of Camden removed him from ministry because it found he sexually abused two young girls. Now, in a new lawsuit, a third woman is claiming she also is one of Harkins’ victims.

The I-Team asked Harkins about the suit as he was leaving his shift at the airport.

“I have nothing to say,” was Harkins’ reply.

The new lawsuit, filed in federal court against the Camden Diocese says quite a bit. It accuses Harkins of sexually abusing an 11-year-old girl 10 to 15 times in 1980 and 1981. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of the alleged victim, claims the abuse occurred while Harkins was a priest at Saint Anthony of Padua parish in Hammonton, NJ, with one assault even occurring in Harkins’ bedroom at the rectory.

The I-Team asked Harkins if the traveling public should be worried

“No, they shouldn’t be,” he said.

Since the allegations against Harkins were so old and the Statute of Limitations had expired, there were no criminal charges filed in these cases so nothing would have shown up on a criminal background check. Nonetheless, one would think the question “Why did you leave your previous job?” would have come up at some point.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. WR says:

    “Since the allegations against Harkins were so old and the Statute of Limitations had expired, there were no criminal charges filed in these cases so nothing would have shown up on a criminal background check. Nonetheless, one would think the question “Why did you leave your previous job?” would have come up at some point.”

    Gosh, maybe this child molester lied. Or simply neglected to mention this fact.

    No, it’s got to be government incompetence. Because to Doug, everything that ever happens anywhere in the world is proof that all government should be dismantled.

    Face palm, indeed.

  2. Jenos Idanian says:

    And now that he’s a government employee and union member, he ain’t going nowhere.

  3. grumpy realist says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Not necessarily. Fraud is a basis for dismissal. Probably several other reasons as well.

  4. @WR:

    Ummm since these charges were part of the public (press) record when the guy was defrocked, how is it possible that the people hiring him could not know about it?

    Oh yea, that’s right, it’s the government, which you have faith in but which realistic human beings know is a a den of incompetence and stupidity.

  5. @Doug Mataconis:

    Ummm since these charges were part of the public (press) record when the guy was defrocked, how is it possible that the people hiring him could not know about it?

    Yes, but can the civil service refuse to hire people on the basis of press allegations that never lead to charges, much less a conviction?

  6. Jenos Idanian says:

    This should be fun. Let’s see WR now defend a defrocked priest’s right to the presumption of innocence so he can get a government job and get a union to defend his position of authority and responsibility, groping people in the name of national security…

  7. Tillman says:

    Ummm since these charges were part of the public (press) record when the guy was defrocked, how is it possible that the people hiring him could not know about it?

    Oh yea, that’s right, it’s the government, which you have faith in but which realistic human beings know is a a den of incompetence and stupidity.

    And “being a den of incompetence and stupidity” makes them different from businesses and other institutions…how, exactly? We’re all human, Doug, we’re all equally idiots in groups. Just because businesses have a profit incentive doesn’t magically make them smarter or more competent.

    The article also mentions he inspects, or supervises the inspection of, people’s luggage.

  8. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Doug Mataconis: So merely an accusation of pedophilia should be enough to remove someone from consideration of employment? How is that any different from the government being able to label anyone they want a terrorist?

  9. In a security position for a government agency? Yes

  10. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Doug Mataconis: So if someone I know if getting background checked for a government position and I don’t like them, all I have to do is tell the investigator that the person abused my kid but we couldn’t prove it enough to take it to court? How convenient…

  11. Obviously, there would have to be some corroboration beyond mere allegations by one person

  12. WR says:

    @Jenos Idanian: Ok, so if you actually had the guts to go out under your own name and you were accused of some terrible crime but never arrested or convicted, should you be barred from ever holding a job? Even if those accusations were published?

    In Jenos-world, as long as Jenos doesn’t like someone, that person should never be allowed to hold a job.

    Once again, Jenos stands up for the lynch mob and against due process.

  13. WR says:

    @Doug Mataconis: “Obviously, there would have to be some corroboration beyond mere allegations by one person ”

    And was there in this case? Well, it sure doesn’t look like you have any evidence there was. Nonetheless, it’s proof for you that government is a den of incompetence and stupidity, because as long as you believe that, you can proudly proclaim that your having to pay taxes is theft.

    If this guy is guilty, he should be in jail. But he can’t be found guilty — and judging from the article you posted, it’s because the church, in its infinite mercy and wisdom, decided he was a child rapist but that exposing him to criminal justice might make them look bad, so they let him walk away.

    And that, of course, is proof that government is bad.

  14. Jenos Idanian says:

    @WR: In Jenos-world, as long as Jenos doesn’t like someone, that person should never be allowed to hold a job.

    Oh, aren’t you cute. I love how in WR-world, a priest defrocked over pedophilia charges is eminently qualified for a highly sensitive security job as an official groper of the citizenry. I’m sure this will end well.