Sex Offender Caught Working OK State Fair; Manager Says Not In Tulsa

Monday, September 23rd 2013, 5:18 pm
By: Craig Day

The Tulsa State Fair opens Thursday evening. The arrest of a carnival ride operator at the Oklahoma State Fair in Oklahoma City last week, for failing to register as a sex offender, has some wondering what safeguards are in place to keep it from happening in Tulsa.

Many of the rides are already being set up and vendors are getting everything ready for the opening of the Tulsa State Fair, which draws an estimated 1 million people each year.

One of the vendors is Jerry Dorough, a father of four from east Texas. He said he was shocked to hear of the arrest of a carnival worker in Oklahoma City at the State Fair.

"Kids are the most important thing we should watch out for," Dorough said.

Police arrested 45-year-old William Chase in Oklahoma City, for failing to register as a sex offender.

9/10/2013 Related Story: Parents Upset After Learning Sex Offender Operated State Fair Ride

The company he works for said they do a 100 percent pre-employment check for new hires, apologized for Chase not registering in Oklahoma, and said it would review its hiring practices.

"We do not hire anybody that has a felony," said Amanda Blair, the manager of the Tulsa State Fair.

The Tulsa State Fair hires anywhere from 300 to 500 people to work during the 11-day run of the fair.

"Ticket takers, ticket sellers, food and beverage operators, mega ride sales - there's a variety of everything - maintenance personnel," Blair said.

Blair said the Tulsa State Fair works with law enforcement to check to see if potential hires have any outstanding warrants or if they're on a registered sex offender list.

"This is our largest community event, we want to make sure the people we hire is definitely continuing our brand with safe, clean, family friendly," Blair said.

As far as carnival workers, it's the responsibility of the company that hires them to do background checks. The state Labor Department can check the results at any time, on site.

Dorough said that's a good thing.

"I think it's very important to have the right people around. So many people out here, you want everybody to be safe," he said.

Blair said they get far more applications than they have jobs available, so they're very selective on who they hire.