I-Team: G4S hires employees with troubling pasts

Employees accused of sex crimes had prior issues

PALMETTO, Fla. - It's happened again. A Florida youth detention worker is accused of abusing children.

The Action News I-team is putting his employer under the microscope, once again.

They're supposed to take care of troubled kids, but now another youth detention worker is accused of serious crimes.

MORE: Worker accused of assaulting two boys

G4s, Florida's largest private operator of residential youth detention facilities, says it does background checks, looking at criminal records and work histories.

But it appears from recent incidents, people with troubled pasts are still being cleared to work directly with children.

“We have low rankings and we have really bad outcomes,” said Roy Miller, one of Florida's top watchdogs on children's issues.

He says Florida has too many recent issues involving contracted youth detention workers.

“It's heinous, because we end up putting some of the least qualified people to treat children who are the most vulnerable,” said Miller.

The most recent issues involved employees of G4S, the world's largest security company, which is paid millions of dollars a year to operate residential youth facilities.

G4s employee Leroy Bostic, Jr. was arraigned on Wednesday on charges he sexually abused two boys, ages 15 and 17, at Palmetto Youth Academy.

The facility is operated by G4S for the Florida Department of Juvenile Justice.

Court records show he was on probation for felony habitual driving without a license and contempt of court when he was hired by G4S in June.

G4s says he passed all background checks.

Records we obtained show that since early 2011, three other Palmetto Youth Academy employees were arrested while working there.

In June, we reported G4S employee Vivianna Hernandez-Trejo was fired from Riverside Youth Academy in Tampa, after being accused of having sexual relations with a teenage boy detained there.

Police are still investigating.

Now, we've learned there were questions about her background.

The I-Team obtained a document showing that five months before going to work for G4S, she was fired from the Florida Department of Corrections for having an inappropriate relationship with an inmate.

When we asked G4S about that, they said the information never came to light in their screening process.

Roy Miller, Executive Director of The Children’s Campaign, says that's inexcusable, but something that happens far too often.

“We know that our workforce is undereducated, under-credentialed and under compensated, but, as a state, we turn a deaf ear,” he said.

G4s released a statement in conjunction with Bostic's arrest.  It read:

“The safety and security of the youth entrusted to our care is our top priority. As a condition of employment, all G4S Youth Services employees are expected to comply with local, state or federal laws or ordinances as well as G4S codes of conduct.”

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