From 1991 to 2012, Ariel Castro, the man charged with kidnapping and raping three Cleveland women, worked as a school bus driver.
A 1991 background check on Castro would have shown a clean criminal record, notes Slate reporter Brian Palmer. But two years later, Castro was engaged in a domestic violence incident that should have been a red flag to Ohio officials:
Grimilda Figueroa, with whom he had children, claimed he beat her savagely in 1993, breaking her nose and ribs and causing a blood clot in her brain. Castro was never tried for the incident, however, because Figueroa failed to appear before the grand jury that was set to indict Castro. (Figueroa later said that Castro bribed and threatened her to prevent her from testifying.) The incident, therefore, would not appear on an Ohio state criminal background check, which reports only convictions. The daily check of arrests that Ohio now performs for school personnel would have turned up the incident, but it wasn’t instituted until 2009, more than 15 years after the domestic violence accusation.
This is not the first time Ohio has come under scrutiny for its lax criminal background checks of school bus drivers.
The Columbus school system in 2007 temporarily halted its school bus program to review the backgrounds of drivers hired by an outside company. The review found that five of the sixty drivers failed their background checks.