Obtaining reliable background checks

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Updated: 11/01/2011 9:31 am Published: 10/31/2011 9:37 pm

As a West Tulsa pastor waits to face a judge, police want to know if there are any other potential victims.

Church members say the church did not do a background check on former Pastor Allen Jeffers, 68.

The former pastor is accused of kidnapping a fifteen-year old girl as she walked home from her east Tulsa school last month.

Police say Jeffers then sexually assaulted the girl, who is mentally challenged.

Sex crimes detectives say Jeffers’ DNA linked him to the DNA from the sexual assault exam.

Jeffers was convicted of public lewd acts in California before serving as a pastor of Tulsa’s Summit Park Full Gospel Church.

Police say members of the church told detectives Jeffers worked with children at the church.

Although the accusations do not involve any children at the church, the church told FOX23 News they did not do a background check on Jeffers.

The public can use the list of online background checks but not all of them are reliable.

FOX23 tried backgroundchecks.com and Intelius.com, the price was about $40 and any perks cost extra.

FOX23 paid $40 to search Jeffers on Intelius and came back with no results.

"That's the danger of getting online,” says private investigator Eric Cullen.

He owns Cullen and Associates in Tulsa and with his private investigations license he can do background checks using reliable-private vendors.

"It might take me all day and there is no record there, it may be take me all day there is a record, it may take 15 seconds, you never know,” says Cullen.

With his credentials he uses at least three resources, including John Walsh’s database.

"I wish this was open to the public,” says Cullen.

Police say Jeffers was convicted in California for lewd Acts in the late 1980’s.

He wouldn’t have been required to register as a sex offender because he missed the requirement by two months in 1989.

Cullen didn’t find any results on the first database.

Reports showed Jeffers had conflicting birthdates. 

So Cullen used another resource that had to be faxed and the results were not immediate.  California does not have online court records like the Oklahoma State Court Networks.

"We've been here for 30 minutes and we've run into brick walls,” says Cullen.

So he calls the Fresno County Court Clerk where police say Jeffers was previously convicted.

Fifteen minutes on the phone Cullen finds out Jeffers had been convicted in 1987 and 1989 for lewd acts, one of them dropped to a misdemeanor.

However, not all court clerks are as helpful.

For private citizens it may tougher especially if they don’t know what they are looking for from an application.

Personal information may not be truthful too.

However, the time and the costs it takes to do a background check on teachers, pastors, coaches, daycare providers or anyone working with children can make all the difference.

"We might be more eager today because we know something is there and we can't find it. But you can't take that chance with kids. You have to be eager all the time,” says Cullen.

The session with the private investigator would have cost $100 to $150.

Some churches and schools require the applicant to pay the fee for a background check.

Larger entities come at a cheaper price.

Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigations also offers a background check for a fee.  Private citizens can pay $15 and get a named base Oklahoma criminal history search.

Law enforcement, teachers, schools and certain professions can use the OSBI fingerprint database that does a national search for $19.

LifeWay Christian Resources offers churches and religious organizations discounted services for background checks by using backgroundchecks.com

Jeffers is being held on $100,000 bond and is scheduled to be in court on Friday.

Police ask that anyone with information about Jeffers call Crime Stoppers at (918) 596-COPS.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

Dan243 - 9/8/2013 6:12 PM
0 Votes
I think most people use http://intelligater.com because it is cheap and good.

dougmc - 3/27/2013 1:10 PM
0 Votes
I have concern over the use of these databases. I understand the intent is to find out about potential threats to our safety and the safety of our community. BUT, I have found that these databases are not always accurate. I have read independent reports regarding the reliability and accuracy of the data and it is poor. The government knows that there are enough issues with the accuracy of the data that they have granted themselves IMMUNITY for liability for data entry mistakes. If the information is sometimes wrong, What happens to the people who have had their names entered into these databases by mistake? Don't say it can't happen because it can and does. My name was accidentally entered into a Convicted Violent Felons database. My name was in this database for 5 years before I found out and it destroyed my career and life. There is no legal recourse, just an apology. There are 1000's of background check companies littered over the internet. You can search on anyone from your sofa. We all assume the data is 100% accurate. But it is not. The use background checking has gotten out of control and the industry is expanding. Who is controlling the data when there is not just one centralized database? The information that is gathered and dumped into these background databases is not always reliable. What happens to people who are victims of being in one of these databases that are in their by mistake? Our lives are considered a friendly fire casualty for the greater good of safety? Seems this problem will only grow as there seems to be a push to know everything about everyone.

richardwarner - 1/11/2013 5:20 AM
0 Votes
Recordsbase also provides criminal records for background check. Everyone wants to know about the strangers who live around them and has skeptical background. For more information regarding Oklahoma criminal records visit: http://www.recordsbase.com/resources/public-records/oklahoma
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