The man police are investigating for theft and fraud involving $31,000 in school funds has been accused of taking public education dollars before.
Darrell K. Sims, 54, a former business manager at New Orleans Military and Maritime Academy in Algiers, was accused of misappropriating $1,642 from the Terrebonne Parish School Board in 1996-97. He was a teacher at the time, according to a school spokeswoman.It was one of a number of arrests in Sims’ past that the military academy’s top school administrator said did not show up in an employee background check conducted when Sims was hired in 2011.That could be because the school’s background check, required by the state but conducted by a private company, encompassed only arrests in the last seven years. The state offers a background search that goes back further. The state’s more expansive background check also turns up charges, like the Terrebonne one, that are resolved through pretrial intervention. It does not appear that the school’s check covered such incidents...Sims is now employed at another school, Joseph A. Craig Charter School in Treme, as a data manager...Over the years Sims has been arrested several times on charges of writing worthless checks, according to court and police records...Davis, the head of the military academy, said that he didn’t know of Sims’ past legal matters because the school’s background check went back only seven years and didn’t turn up anything.NOMMA contracts with Delta Administrative Services for its human resources needs, Davis said. Delta contracted with a firm called SingleSource to do the seven-year background check for a fee of $30.The state Department of Public Safety & Corrections conducts a criminal background check for schools for $42.50, searching state and federal databases for all arrests for which fingerprints were collected, including those resolved through pretrial intervention before a conviction can take place...Rafael Goyeneche, president of the Metropolitan Crime Commission, a local nonprofit working to eliminate public corruption, said it is in a school’s best interest to know as much as possible about the people it hires — and that is precisely why such information is available to schools.“For $40, you’re using a law enforcement database that’s always going to be better than a private database,” Goyeneche said. “I think every school system and every school should utilize the law enforcement database. You can’t have too much information on someone that is going to have access to children.”...Davis said that when Sims was asked in writing on July 7, 2011, whether he’d ever been convicted of a crime — including “but not limited to pleas of guilty, nollo contendre, no contest, adjudication withheld, and pretrial intervention programs” — he checked a box that said “no.”...
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“Military academy’s background check didn’t turn up employee’s prior theft charge.” The Lens (LA), 4/23/2013