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PA: Bill would ban sex offenders from firefighter rosters

[ 4/19/18]

HARRISBURG, Pa. (WHTM) – A Pennsylvania lawmaker has introduced legislation to ban convicted sex offenders from serving as firefighters.

Under House Bill 2220, professional and volunteer firefighters would have to submit to a background check or sign a statement saying they’ve never been convicted of a sexual offense.

Pennsylvania already prohibits convicted arsonists from serving as firefighters, but whether a convicted sex offender may serve is up to each individual community to decide.

Republican Rep. Kathy Rapp introduced the proposal after a fire chief in her Crawford County district was re-elected despite is 2001 conviction for sexually assaulting a 4-year-old. He has since resigned.

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  1. sean

    this is fear mongering at its finest…. so what this lawmaker is essentially saying is, that she would rather have her house burn down, or loose a loved one in an emergency situation, all because there might be a slim possibility that the S.O. may have ulterior motives, and thoughts about them, while in their burning house, putting THEIR lives at risk, to save your sorry ass, or loved one? or maybe providing CPR to a loved one, who just collapsed from a heart attack, because the S.O. might have to touch them to do it? you know what this is? KARMA…it is hopefully DARWINISM working at its best, to one day rid the world of hypocritical lawmakers like this. I for one would gladly stand back, and watch this lawmakers possessions all go up in flames, OR look the other way as their loved one lays on the ground in distress. why? oh because I’m an S.O.,and its against the law for me to help anyone, as it might be construed as a means to get closer to another victim. REALLY people? as long as their are Dumbass lawmakers in positions like this, there will never be a rational discussion about these kinds of topics. this is truly the low of lows. and I for one, hope this particular lawmaker burns in hell!!

    (WHTM) – A Pennsylvania lawmaker has introduced legislation to ban convicted sex offenders from serving as firefighters.
    Under House Bill 2220, professional and volunteer firefighters would have to submit to a background check or sign a statement saying they’ve never been convicted of a sexual offense.
    Republican Rep. Kathy Rapp introduced the proposal after a fire chief in her Crawford County district was re-elected despite is 2001 conviction for sexually assaulting a 4-year-old. He has since resigned

    • Debo

      Sounds like a good law to me I’m an SO and I wouldn’t want an SO touching my daughter You’re right it is Karma for us its called consequences for our actions They have every right to do background checks on people that deal with the public. Somehow because of the SO reg fight people on here are starting to think they should be immune to any consequences at all for what they did. I don’t see you complaining that a hospital emergency room wouldn’t hire you why is it any different for a fire dept?

      • CR

        Why isn’t a sentence not consequence enough for conviction of a criminal act?

        Some occupational restrictions are reasonable for some offenders. Some people are incorrigible, and can not or will not be rehabilitated. That’s not true for everyone, though. Most never commit another offense. So the kind of blanket restrictions, like the one being discussed here, that treat everyone in a broad offense category the same way, without regard for individual differences or risk factors, is unjustified and is fundamentally unfair.

      • @Debo

        You are in the largest statistical percentage of possible people who would do harm to their own family member because you are in a position of trust. Maybe you and your daughter ought to be separated with no contact until she is 18 yrs old to make her own decisions regardless if you have paid your debt to society.

        • norman

          @Debo..I have no victim nor victimized anybody in my life yet here I am..

        • Justice For ALL

          I will question the claim that you say you are a Registrant. I call BS on this because not ONE of us here would fall for a narrative such as this. A person subjected to the registry knows EXACTLY how the registry works (or doesn’t) and we also know PRECISELY that this wouldn’t stop someone from offending.

          Why would a person who was able to pick up the pieces of their lives and VOLUNTEER to put their lives at risk… cop a feel? Surely there are better ways than that.

          Lastly, you have it backwards; a person on the registry is the LAST person to commit a crime against a family member……FIRST TIME OFFENDERS is usually someone in a position of trust.

          And to Segway from that, it completely went over your head, didn’t it? So if a family member or someone in a constant position of trust (relative, coach, involved neighbors, etc) is what’s to be worried about, what will this law accomplish? Nothing.

          It just PUNISHES those that are rehabilitated. Period.

      • totally against public registry


        Are you serious? These people go to homes to pull people out of danger and you are saying that you’re afraid one of these firemen might molest your child?
        This is the problem in our society….I guess if you have committed a sex crime, you can never work anywhere. How you do your job has nothing to do with what crime you committed and paid for in the past.

    • Dave

      Here is my point of view. I am personally happy to see S.O.’s here to voice their opinions, this is a subject that Congress needs to really deliberate. First time offenders such as myself don’t catch breaks because society groups us minor-risk offenders all into one category and “community”, sure we are acknowledged (not really in acknowledged positive way either), but think of the communities out there that think they are normal and fit into society. Congress is a high school joke. People are afraid of what’s different. IN my line of work, I deal with people everyday that have kids and whatnot, but I can’t work in certain places, I don’t let it get me down though, I just do my job and come home to my wife and three year old son. Offenders in a similar instance as myself know that we don’t need to try hard to prove ourselves to anyone, we know what we did, we paid our debt to society by serving time, so when will we be treated normally again???? NEVER! That’s all in part due to the Adam Walsh Act, but I’ll tell you all this right now, ANYONE WHO DESPISES OR THINKS WE ARE THE MONSTERS OF THE WORLD, YOU COULD EASILY MEET US AT RANDOM AND YOU’D NEVER KNOW, AND WHYS THAT? WELL, IN MY OWN OPINION, YOU DON’T GOOGLE ENOUGH! HAHAHA. WE MINOR-RISK OFFENDERS JUST WANNA GET ON WITH OUR LIVES AND DO THE BEST WE KNOW HOW TO. TO MY FELLOW REGISTRANTS, THE STRUGGLE ISN’T AS REAL AS UPSTATE. KEEP FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT AND LET’S SEND SOME KUDOS TO Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf for giving us that break we needed with making sure our prior ADAM WALSH ACT plea deals stuck. I went from a tier 2 registry back to my 10 year and only need to go annually…..Mr. Wolf, I thank you personally.

  2. Will Allen

    Great use of public resources. I wonder if these criminal legislators think there could ever be too many laws or that government could be too big. Big government ought to be constrained to a certain size. It should be dictated that big government may only control N things and no more. They would have to pick the most important and useful things to control. Stupidity like this would have to be skipped.

    But why would anyone who is listed on a SEX Offender Registry (SORs) ever want to do anything that might help someone who supports the SORs (i.e. a Registry Terrorist (RT))? The PRIMARY, #1 goal of anyone who is listed on an SOR should be to ensure that they never help anyone who supports it. Not ever. That must be the primary goal in life. I think relative to the SORs, ALL people should have a long list of life goals and they should START in this priority:

    1. Follow all laws. Not because they are legal, moral, or proper. But because they are weapons of war. Do not allow them to be used against you. Do use them against RTs.

    2. Never do anything that could aid an RT.

    3. Ensure the SORs are worthless.

    4. Harm RTs by any means that is legal.

    A Registered Citizen can’t be a firefighter or anything else that helps the general public.

  3. Agamemnon

    “‘There are certain things that our society does not believe is appropriate. Being a firefighter who can go into a home is absolutely one of them,’ Rapp said.”

    What? What does that jargon even mean?

    That you think firefighters going into homes is inappropriate? That firefighters use their position to enter unsuspecting residences? That you think firefighters should have full legal clearance to risk their lives by entering a home on fire?

    The idiocy is almost too much to bear.

  4. New Person

    Why stop at firefighting occupations? Why not ban all registrants from any job that involves any human contact? Probably should ask Rapp to do just that.

    Then ask Rapp to ban arsonist from any purchase that can create a spark, which includes the use of a microwave oven, lights, or anything with electricity.

    Oh then ask Rapp to ban anyone convicted of a DUI from every driving any vehicle, including a non-motorized bike as well as anything with alcohol in it such as legal, over the counter cold medicine.

    If she wants to be 100% correct, then make sure she follows through on this 100% effort to the fullest. Let her fulfill what Colorado Judge Matsch concluded, that the registry is made cruel and unusual punishment by the public.

  5. TS

    This fits right into Judge Matsch’s decision narrative it appears which he is being called out on in accordance with society’s punishment (aka collateral damage and nothing the state wants to acknowledge) of the RC.

  6. Snarky Tangent Warning

    So much for your peers having a say in their VOLUNTEER department matters. Even though all FD infrastructure and vehicles are publicly funded entities (volunteers are not paid), this law should be possibly challenged (if passed and someone wanted to). It calls out FFs specifically and not all publicly funded personnel positions in positions of trust (including politicians). Hiring practices be damned, it needs to be codified in law! Can someone from PA call the committee, the reps, the governor(!) to suggest politicians be included on the publicly funded personnel position exclusion list please on a matter of principle?!

    The FF who may have a RC conviction does not need to necessarily go into the home unless it is burning because other than that, they could do other duties as needed in the call of duty beside going into the public’s home (even if it is burning). Maybe they could ask whether any children are in the burning house before considering entrance? Asking for a friend out of courtesy…

    Someone in PA needs to challenge her data gathering technique and sample pool she since she knows of no one who wants a RC to come their home. Someone in PA should ask her if she delineated whether the home was burning or not in her sample of the public. Sometimes, volunteer FFs are not easy to get or retain.

  7. sean

    @ Debo

    really? so apparently your lucky enough to live in a community, or city that has MORE first responders than they know what to do with? well where I live, everything is volunteer, were many departments are struggling to stay afloat financially, or struggle to find new, younger people, to replace ones that for whatever reason, age, ability, or other circumstances keeps them from doing it. obviously being an SO bars me from certain positions, or jobs, and that IS something I ACCEPT as a consequence of my actions. BUT this is more about lumping all of us into one BIG category, and I’m glad you feel that we should all be treated as second class citizens . and if you really feel that an SO couldn’t help you or a family member in an emergency situation, then MAKE SURE you ask every first responder that might come to assist you OR a family member IF they are an SO, so as you can make that informed decision in that split second before you actually need it….maybe you should run for a PA legislative position as well, cause right now your reasoning is as far out in left field as theirs is..

  8. Brian

    If try to ban us from working them everyone is going to have something to fear who’s not an SO, talk about having nothing to loose, a bunch of SO’s unable to pay for food, cloths, home, bills, that’s a very bad idea

  9. TS

    PA is not the only state with RCs serving their communities after they have paid their debt (OK too as seen here):

    A city under fire: embezzlement and a firefighter on the sex offender registry discovered in Coyle

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