By Jessica Leffler
Some residents question how _____ was handled
PLAINFIELD TOWNSHIP - Plainfield residents angry about former township assistant clerk and firefighter _____ have launched their own investigation, 24 Hour News 8 learned Wednesday.
The controversy revolves around the township allowing _____, a convicted sex offender, to serve as a firefighter and work in the township office.
"Those are things that are very disconcerting to citizens in Plainfield Township," said Traci Kornak, a Plainfield Township resident and mother.
Although he is out on bond on new criminal charges after his arrest for soliciting two teenage boys online, it is his past that has residents upset.
Kornak and others are upset about _____' first conviction, in 1995, for a sex crime against a boy younger than age 13. Many have wondered: Why didn't that stop _____ from working for the township?
"As to discipline and those types of things, those are things that I would defer to elected leadership to take care of, but apparently, we don't have any elected leadership here in Plainfield Township," Kornak said.
She came to the Plainfield Township Board of Trustees meeting Monday night.
Fire chief David Peterson and Township Manager Robert Homan say they knew about _____' previous conviction. He was not released from his position until a new investigation was launched regarding the solicitation of the minors on Facebook.
But Plainfield Township clerk Scott Harvey said although _____ worked in his office, he had no idea about his past.
"My conscience was shocked the first time we came in and the chief told me what he knew from 1995," Harvey said.
The board of trustees decided unanimously Monday not to discipline Homan or Peterson.
"The chief made the decision, the chief said he made the decision," Harvey said. "The chief was trying to keep everything else in line to make sure nothing else happened. Unfortunately, something else did happen."
Kornak filed multiple Freedom of Information Act requests with the township to obtain several documents, including the police report from the 1995 criminal sexual conduct complaint, _____' registry on the sex offender list and a character reference letter from Peterson for _____ in April and May 1997.
There also are speeding tickets for _____ and a memorandum that states he drove an ambulance after attending a fire banquet in February 1998 after drinking alcohol -- enough alcohol to get a ride home from the banquet. _____ later admitted responsibility and said he used "bad judgment" by responding to the call and driving a township ambulance.
Residents and parents are outraged, and say this violates hiring policies for the Plainfield Fire Department. They argue those who knew about _____' past should be held responsible.
"This issue is not going away until they take responsibility for their actions and they hold the others accountable for their failure to take action that (is) appropriate under the circumstances and within their own guidelines," Kornak said.
24 Hour News 8 attempted to contact Peterson for comment, but were told by firefighters at the station he is on vacation.
Homan says he knew about _____' past and his status on the sex offender registry, but at the time of his hire, there was no policy or requirement to take action.
Plainfield Township does not have a policy that requires criminal background checks for all new hires, but that is something Homan says the township is investigating and will likely enact soon.