Ronnie Green is running a summer camp in Florida, which is great for the community. Ronnie’s the pastor of the J.I.T.A. Outreach Center, which is also pretty cool of him. The Palm Beach County Division of Human Services gives out $1.2 million every summer to subsidize camp tuition for poor children. My heart is just full of happiness. Just to think, these children from disadvantaged families are able to have some fun and stay off the streets. This has got to be the best story EVER!
But wait: The Palm Beach Post is reporting that Ronnie Green was convicted in 1994 of repeatedly sexually abusing a 6 year old girl to the point of physical scarring. And Ronnie’s not the only one running a Florida summer camp that needs a serious background check. Says the Post, crack dealers and scam artists were also among the others trusted to give kids a safe place to play during the summer.
Or, in more simple terms, Florida is paying criminals like Ronnie Green to watch children.
According to the Post, laws in-place to protect the vulnerable don’t apply to children in summer camps – so background checks are never run on camp officials. “Although the Department of Children and Families screens owners and operators of day-care centers and other child-care providers,” says the Post, “an exemption in Florida statutes effectively allows anyone, even a registered sex offender, to open a summer camp and gain unsupervised access to children.” The kicker – state statutes do require background screening camp owners and operators, but no agency is tasked with running the checks.
Perfect. Way to go, Florida.
No one watches the watchers, as it were. There’s no county official or any office that keeps track of the camp officials, counselors, or who exactly receives the $1.2 million. Most of the funding, you guessed it, comes from taxpayers.
Nothing is mentioned in the Palm Beach Post story linked above or the Broward Palm Beach New Times link below about whether or not we can trust the dudes that run the grand-prize Space Camp awarded all the time on Double Dare. I got my eye on you, Marc Summers.
Sauce: Broward Palm Beach New Times