We all know that rare and sometimes completely benign events can lead to some terrible laws. In Ohio, a woman employed in a haunted house quit her job after realizing that two of her coworkers at “Spooky Ranch” were on the registry. It’s not that they did anything to her or anyone while employed there, it’s just their presence that she made issue of.
Ultimately the two employees were fired and now the news media brought it to the local police who indicate they are going to arrest the men (not because they did anything, but because they failed to register their employment at the haunted house). It doesn’t end there though – now there’s a bill introduced in Ohio that would prevent people on the registry from working in certain places.
The Bill, HB 459 would prevent registrants from working in “any capacity in which a person would be working directly and in an unaccompanied setting with minor children on more than an incidental and occasional basis or would have supervision or disciplinary power over minor children.” That capacity “includes, but is not limited to, providing goods or services to minors.”
So what would constitute an “unaccompanied setting” and would it be the minor who would need to be accompanied or would it be the worker? Say, for example, you’re working the counter at a pizza shop and a kid walks in for a slice and he’s unaccompanied. Would that be restricted employment? Or does the “accompanied” burden fall on the worker? Say you’re working as a plumber, do you need to bring a chaperone with you to fix a toilet?
Then there’s the encompassing “providing goods or services to minors”. Unless you work in a sex shop or nightclub, it’s hard to think of many retail establishments that expressly exclude minors. A clerk in a convenience store or a waiter in a restaurant serves minors all the time so that wouldn’t be “incidental or occasional”? Plus, with all these subjective restrictions, who gets to make the decision on what qualifies as an OK job vs. an off limits job?
Here’s the reality… even if this bill were to pass, would it have solved this haunted house non-problem? No, it wouldn’t have. Unless there was only one employee and one customer at the time, how can it constitute an “unaccompanied setting”? And even if people on the registry were prohibited from working in any job in any capacity anywhere in the state, would it prevent sexual abuse? No, it wouldn’t. 97% of sex offenses are committed by someone NOT on the registry, so sadly there could still be sexual assaults taking place in haunted houses.
The only problem here is that Kim Neubauer didn’t want to work with her co-workers at the haunted house. Well Boo! Ms. Kim Neubuer! Boo Hoo! That’s your problem. If it makes you feel better that you got two guys fired who probably needed the job more than you do, you should feel great right now! How would you feel if you were trying to work to support your family, weren’t doing anything wrong, but someone didn’t like the fact that Kim Neubauer from Sheffield Lake, Ohio happened to work there because they thought Kim Neubauer is a horrible worker?