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Did Apartment Complex Hire Known Sex Offender?

In the 20 years we have been serving our community, we have learned that in most states background checks are required for various types of employment. These can include security officers, law enforcement, teachers, and especially those offering child care services. Management positions are no exception given the inherent requirement to manage people and/or buildings. Apartment managers could be considered as an employment position requiring background checks. This can ensure the safety of the property and for those living in it.

In 2010, an Atlanta apartment complex may have neglected to perform an adequate background check on a particular employee. John Damon Braswell, 49, is a known sex offender who appears on the sex offender registry maintained by the state of Atlanta. Upon completing a 15-year term in Fulton County State Prison for a child molestation charge in 1995, he was released in 2010. Braswell was then able to secure a position as property manager at an Atlanta apartment complex on West Lake Avenue a short time later.

Braswell additionally lived in the apartment complex. During his residence there, he was accused of having convinced two children to come into his apartment. According to a lawsuit filed in Fulton County State Court against the complex, he sexually molested and abused both children between the dates of March and May 2013.

Further information provided by the lawsuit filed by the families of the children, “Defendants either knew that Braswell was a convicted child molester/registered sex offender and hired him anyway, or they failed to perform a reasonable background check which would have revealed those issues.”

The results of the lawsuit is yet to be determined and in progress. However, Braswell was arrested in 2013 for the alleged child molestation. He was later criminally convicted and began serving a 30-year sentence in Telfair State Prison in February 2014.

While the result of the lawsuit is yet to be determined, employers would be wise to ensure that adequate security and background checks are performed regarding potential employees. This can result in many positive consequences, including but not limited to the safety of persons who could potentially be affected as well as protect the employer from lawsuits should an issue ever arise. Given that Braswell has been convicted, it demonstrates the importance of performing background checks on employees for the protection of the company but more importantly, for those persons dependent on a safe place to live.

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