Employment Service Places Convicted Felons at M.E.'s Office - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

Employment Service Places Convicted Felons at M.E.'s Office

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The M.E.'s office discovered three convicted felons working in their offices, one in Tulsa and two in Oklahoma City. The M.E.'s office discovered three convicted felons working in their offices, one in Tulsa and two in Oklahoma City.
M.E. Spokesperson Cherokee Ballard said the employees were temporary sent from the GALT Foundation who did not warn the M.E.'s office of the employees' criminal background. M.E. Spokesperson Cherokee Ballard said the employees were temporary sent from the GALT Foundation who did not warn the M.E.'s office of the employees' criminal background.
Judy Atkins with the GALT Foundation said a background check was conducted but the M.E.'s office never asked for that information. Judy Atkins with the GALT Foundation said a background check was conducted but the M.E.'s office never asked for that information.

By Rust Surette, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- The State Medical Examiner's Office is once again coming under scrutiny after officials discovered convicted felons were working in both Oklahoma City and Tulsa offices.

The Medical Examiner's Office said it was shocked to learn they had convicted felons working under their roof. While officials said they do take some of the blame, they said it's not all their fault.

In the past year the M.E.'s office has been rocked by a sexual harassment scandal and stripped of its national accreditation.

Those in charge now say there's an on-going effort to restore the agency's reputation, but now there's one more hurdle to clear and that's keeping convicted felons out of the office.

"We don't feel like its appropriate for our agency to have people with felony convictions here working in such a sensitive place," said Cherokee Ballard, M.E.'s Office Spokeswoman.

But Ballard said it's already happened. Last year they found a convict working in the Tulsa office. Several months later they found two more working in the Oklahoma City office. Ballard said these temporary workers all came from the GALT Foundation, an employment service that's contracted with the state of Oklahoma to provide temporary workers.

"Some of them could not pass a background," said Judy Atkins, with the GALT Foundation.

Judy Atkins is the operations director of GALT. She said while background checks are conducted on each person hired, that information is only passed along to an agency that asks for it. She said the M.E's office never did that, at least not until July 2009.

The M.E.'s office said GALT should have offered up that kind of information without having to ask, but knowing what they know now, the agency is asking for all background checks for all workers.

But the system is still not perfect. Ballard said just last month the GALT Foundation sent over the name of another convicted felon, but she quickly realized their mistake. GALT denies that ever happened.

The GALT Foundation currently has about 350 temporary workers in state offices.

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