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To ‘Minimize Risk,’ Penn State Expands Background Check Policy

Following the conviction of former assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky on child sexual abuse charges, Penn State University has announced a plan to expand criminal background check requirements for all new and some current employees. The new policy, which reflects best practices, is meant to ensure that the criminal histories and potential sexual abuse records of future employees will be thoroughly reviewed before hiring. The new policy requires background checks for all current employees considered to be in “sensitive/critical” positions, which include those with responsibility for protecting personal data, those with master key access to all buildings and those with responsibility for controlled substances or hazardous materials. This move follows a June announcement by Penn State of a new sexual abuse reporting policy that requires all university employees to complete annual reporter training, and calls for disciplinary action, up to and including dismissal, to be taken against any employee that willfully fails to report a suspected case of child abuse.

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