A Washington County man just wanted to volunteer with his son's Boy Scout troop, but learned about one of the organization's strict policies the hard way.
News on 6 anchor Tami Marler says Tom Miller applied to become a Boy Scout leader so he could spend more quality time with his son. About six months later, he got his reply.
"A criminal background check indicates that you may have a criminal history that would disqualify you from membership."
Attached to the rejection letter, pages and pages of felony convictions, including violent, sexual crimes. All under Miller's name. "First five of their social security number matched mine, but they put Xâ€™s on the last four. Same date of birth. Same names. Same names, but different." Also different states and very different records.
"If this information was to get in the wrong hands, I could first and foremost lose my son. And then my job."
Background checks have been standard operating procedure for the last few years for new adults who want to come into the program and work with Boy Scouts. It's designed to protect the children. And leaders say 99 percent of the time; those checks come back accurate.
"All of our registration's fed into our computers goes into the national office. There, they go through a company called ChoicePoint with a background check. If nothing comes back, we get nothing. Those people are approved." Ed Harvey with the Cherokee Area Boy Scouts says if ChoicePoint finds a criminal record, the Boy Scouts reject the applicant.
Ed Harvey: "We notify them. We don't notify anybody else other than the unit where they want to be involved and tell them that there's a problem with registration. They can't be a leader until this is cleared up. And it's up to them to do it at that point."
Miller called ChoicePoint. "And I told this lady, you could have cost me my son, and my job." A few weeks later, Miller got a reply showing what he already knew, a record clean enough for the Boy Scouts.
Miller is now a member of the Boy Scouts of America. He says he doesn't blame the organization for running a criminal check, but he does hope they'll consider using a more thorough agency. The Boy Scouts use Atlanta-based ChoicePoint all over the country.