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National

Sex offender loses COVID-19 contract at VA hospital after USA TODAY asks questions

[usatoday.com – 8/11/20]

Ezekiel Lopez is a registered child sexual predator in Illinois who spent more than three years in prison for sexually abusing two teenage girls under his care.

The conviction was not a barrier between Lopez and more than $700,000 in federal contracts to provide cleaning and janitorial services to help fight COVID-19 at the Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital just outside Chicago.

No rules specifically prevented it.

Government contractors are supposed to indicate on their applications whether they’ve had any felony convictions within the past two years. But Lopez was convicted in 2007.

The federal government can ban vendors convicted of fraud or other procurement violations from future contracts, usually for up to three years. But that debarment does not include sex crimes.

As a result neither Lopez nor his company, America’s Best at Work – which offers auto tire distribution as well as janitorial services – appeared on any list of parties excluded from Department of Veterans Affairs contracting.

VA spokeswoman Christina Noel said the company met the criteria to become a vendor under federal law, which includes being deemed “responsible” through its registration with the System for Award Management. The vendor also was in good standing with the federal government’s database for “performance and integrity.”

But days after USA TODAY began questioning the agency about Lopez’s background, the VA hospital changed course, ending its relationship with the business as of July 23.

Candace Oliva, a health systems specialist to the hospital director, said in an email that “nothing questionable” had turned up in the vendor’s two-year background check. But “after discovering this particular issue, Hines VA Hospital terminated its relationship with the contractor.”

Lopez did not respond to several calls and emails seeking comment for this story. A voice mailbox for the number listed for his company was full.

“It’s disturbing,” Burton said. “Especially if it’s a small business, you want to look at the business owner and whether they are responsible.”

But industry trade groups have worked with various programs in the past to help train certain inmates. And the “ban the box” movement across the U.S. has emphasized giving offenders a second chance at meaningful work after their release back to society to help lower crime and prevent recidivism.

Jill Levenson, a professor at Barry University in Miami who studies how society monitors and treats sex criminals, said laws designed to protect the public need to be balanced with a past offender’s ability to find work and support themselves.

“It all has to be weighed and balanced,” Levenson said. “People have to work. When people have been incarcerated or committed a crime, the expectation is they go back into society, be acclimated and be law-abiding … employment is a tough one.”

Read the full article

Commentary by Guy Hamilton-Smith

 

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I hope he sues the VA and win, I’m in the same line of business it’s how I make a living but I don’t put my name/address on the company so this situation doesn’t happen.

Sad that he is at a loss because of the registry.

I hope he sues USA Today!

So USA used the registry beyond its intended reason. It used it to get someone fired, which isn’t the purpose of the registry.

The writer might’ve got a hot tip from a losing contract competitor who then followed up with the story to the include a registry check which USA Today condoned. Using such public info for an article would be hard to prove it was malicious given the VA didn’t have to canx the contract once they’re made aware of the specs. Optics look bad here of course but proof is where?

This really pisses me off!!! It’s been on my mind all day, tip it off I get an email from the VA News titled “How VA Helps Veteran business owners“. I had to laugh as it fueled my anger to the point that I emailed USA Today, and this D-Bag opposing the story. I hope you all do.

USA Today is good for wiping your hands with if you run out of paper towels. The guy managed his crew and had integrity performance without an issues; but lost a contract because someone couldn’t keep their nose out of his business. Media needs to stop the bullcrap stories and keep their stench to themselves.

Guy Hamilton-Smith has a few choice words to say about this vigilante economic lynching: https://littlereddots.substack.com/p/good-morning-i-am-full-of-rage

I sent an email to the journalist and the USA Today editor lambasting this article; which I thought was not even newsworthy. Oh boy a registrant has a job and their in charge of other people at a VA hospital. Shouldn’t society want people to live law abiding lives after probation, parole or prison is over? I guess not in the minds of the true monsters: people that stick their noses in others business and should know curiosity killed the cat. With all the added punishment someday the courts will have to overturn Smith vs. Doe.

Emails to USA Today are in order…https://marketing.usatoday.com/contact-us

This is further proof that the Registry IS punitive beyond a shadow of a doubt.

do you think usa today will go after Discovery channel because mike tyson is on shark week?

I have been waiting for someone to make the Mike Tyson point this week during Shark Week given his history…

Is his a success story then since he can do this now given his legal history or just because he was a badass boxer in his day and fame carries extra cred?

Dont get me wrong, i am not trying to take his success and opportunity away from him there is a bit of a double standard there. i mean i have seen the advertisment for this on the CNN website!

@Bill

It also exposes and discredits the feel-good “we’re all in this together” hypocrisy.

Their argument claiming the registry is “not meant to be punitive” is like saying Segregation wasn’t meant to be racist. Or.. the contention that “all sex offenders are to be considered dangerous” is like saying all cops are dirty.

Robin at the National office has a good editorial on this article for your reading leisure: https://narsol.org/2020/08/usatoday-favors-restrictions-on-felons-access-to-federal-contracts/#post-75167

Isn’t the point of succeeding past a previous mistake in life in showing you can succeed why the American dreams exists (or supposed to or maybe once did)?

Good investigative journalism by USA Today!!

Good that they caused this person to lose a business contract because of bad publicity?

I’m tempted to think this country needs to know what a MILLION PLUS collective faces looks like. Being a submissive victim of the playground bully has gone on long enough. Perhaps seeing the size of our number would give pause to some of this foolishness.

A huge key fact that has not been mentioned thus far is that this man was in a Major position of trust and caring for these little girls – not one but TWO… He was their Stepfather! And these were Not isolated incidents. The actual reports I obtained and his admissions state there was Penetration with his genitalia. Anyone who knows anything about working with sexual assault and rape victims knows that they never never recover and this affects all areas of normal maturation throughout their teenage years as well as their entire lives! Hence the correct classification for this… Read more »

That “huge key fact” is not relevant at all. Sex Offense Registries are idiotic, and as we see here, are nothing but harassment. Further, because Registries exist, I can’t really care about what may or may not have happened with this guy in the past. People lie. People are harmed every day. If he’d merely shot the girls with a gun, all would be fine today. He wouldn’t be listed on any Registry, wouldn’t be dangerous at all, the girls would not be professional victims, and he’d still be employed. So, nope, I can’t trust the lying, immoral criminal regimes… Read more »

I guess you can’t trust the Perpetrator who finally admitted years of it either? That would not comply with your stated agenda naturally. Sexually Raping these 2 little girls went on for a long long time and he admitted to it, saying ” it felt good but I knew it was wrong”. What separates humans from animals? Again he was in the role of being their father, a Trusted Man, their actual Stepfather (which unfortunately is all-too-common, many perpetrators particularly seek out women with young girls to live with) so don’t think that this is not going to ruin the… Read more »

I didn’t read one word about whatever he did or didn’t do. It’s irrelevant. He was punished for it. And certainly in no way does it justify having Registries. Because Registries exist, I know not to trust big government “justice” and victim shills. I know I don’t have to care. Most of us have been victims. Oh well. No one has to care about anyone else. Let’s list everyone on a Hit List. Don’t worry, I’m not a sex predator. But the Registries have made me dangerous. But we don’t care about people who are dangerous, unless it involves sex.… Read more »

@Suzie Im sorry, but you are dead wrong about the never being able to get over what happens to you in your formative years. I know because that happened to me as a young boy. I blocked it out for a very long time. Did I suffer at times? I certainly did, but once I sought help I did not want to remain a victim forever because by choosing to remain a victim you cant really move on with your life. Unfortunately, DA’s, most victim advocacy groups, politicans, and the police/fbi generally want those affected by sexual violence to remain… Read more »

I do not want to negate your horrible childhood experiences & I applaud you for your formidable resilience. Bravo! I can only hope that this continues throughout your life & that you do not revisit those sexually abusive scenarios either mentally, physically or socially that were so abhorantly perpetrated on you as a young boy. My positive regards & wishes for your continued good life as you have reported it. As you reported apparently you are a glorious exception!

@Suzie:
Missing from your post to @Lovecraft is any retraction or correction of your statement. You said, “[a]nyone who knows anything about working with sexual assault and rape victims knows that they never never recover[.]” @Lovecraft proved false your blanket statement of “never never recover.” I am sure there are a number of others on here who could also chime in to disprove your position.

An “exception” to a rule means the rule as stated is invalid.

@Suzie, let’s assume for just one second that all you say is true – how is any of this relevant to ruining this man’s business, for which he was 100% qualified, and putting him and his employees out of work? In the middle of a pandemic, no less. Oh, and the only people who without a doubt ruin people’s lives are those who kill other people. But they are not classified as “predators” (what a stupid word) and you would never read a story about a convicted murderer losing his business years after getting out of prison due to nosy… Read more »

The relevance is that it all goes to character, representation of one’s credibility and a level of assumed Trust when an individual who has a company is to interact with so many others in society. Spending a few months in jail for years of sexually Raping, Threatening & Abusing little girlS in a role as a Trusted Stepfather is hardly the type of individual that only a few years later should be able to be Unleashed in society with unfettered access to work places where other little girls may be present. Even the most Elementary individuals know that Sexual Abuse… Read more »

Complete nonsense. This person owes no explanation to anyone. The only thing of significance here is if his company will correctly do the work that it is hired to do. Any sex crime in his past is not relevant. His past business performance probably is. I promise you that this person, like nearly all People Forced to Register (PFRs), if he is not interacting “with so many others in society” at this job, will just continue on and interact with as many other people in society as he wishes, and they’ll know nothing about him being a PFR. I’ve seen… Read more »

Suzie, First let me say that I welcome your participation on this blog. Your voice should be heard, and while many may (and certainly do) disagree with some of your views, I believe that you are presenting your honest beliefs as to the nature of sexual offending, the effects on victims, and what you believe should be appropriate societal remedies. These are all subjects that should be honestly debated and this is blogsite is a wonderful place for this to occur. I only ask that while you advocate for your positions, that you please keep an open mind and an… Read more »

Suzie, If this man was drinking and driving 20 years ago and caused an accident where 2 little girls were killed, served his sentence, rehabilitated himself, and was doing good; would you think this man should make the USA news because he is now successful? would many millions of people still condemn him for life? Suzie, are you aware that drink drivers have a very high recidivism rate, unlike past convicted sex offenders? Did you know that impaired driving has killed and injured more children and adults than all other criminals combined? Suzie, I would think that since you are… Read more »

Not only is this man putting in an honest day’s backbreaking work and doing his best to stay out, he is employing people when there aren’t that many jobs available. I do not envy the reporter if this is how she makes her money.

@suzie “Even the most Elementary individuals know that Sexual Abuse 101 dictates these are NOT the first timeS, meaning YEARS & generally will not be the last times. This Predator has already admitted so many horrific details and all he cared about was his few seconds of animalistic Power & Control over little girls. I’m certain as is also customary with sexual rapists, he was extremely Unsuccessful in relationships with Real Women & suffered from Manhood sexual performance inabilities!” Rather, I would hope that even the most elementary individuals could see through this simplistic explanation for complex issues complete with… Read more »

You know a lot can happen during our formative years growing up. Even Suzie has some interesting things one should understand. She is right and coming from a woman’s prospective one should understand. Sure one can talk about behavior means or responsiblities but many times one should let old embers die. While Suzie talked about trust and it is about trust and also honesty. What happened 15 or so years ago should be left alone. While authorities seem to do their job it seems they press the issue a bit to far. I mean they will send one off to… Read more »

@AJ and others. I would like to make one statement if I may. Conditioning is a process. Didn’t someone say on here those without sin cast the first stone. Now Suzie has a good point. While people tend to struggle with issues its all about correction and humans understanding the issues at hand. Did not Paul say in the bible he was the chief sinner. Oh but thats in the bible. Actually truth is stranger than fiction in many ways. Myself and I’m sure others look at a lot of this sex offense or registry ordeal as a throwback or… Read more »

This reply will most likely be my last posting and it is to SG as well as this last poster who requested replies. Important points that I wanted to make have been said and there is no sense in repeating most. I understand many people because this is a hedonistic topic of sex have very strong beliefs, feelings and many previous illegal actions on the act. I’m very accustomed to individuals having very vibrant conversations and extremely strong opinions and I am never deterred and certainly not intimidated by such, even when they take a militia type of stance, firing… Read more »

Bye, Felicia. This guy has nothing to do with me or any other Person Forced to Register (PFR). Personally, I repaid my entire debt and then some. I have no need to change in any way, except that the Registries themselves have put me in danger of being forced to retaliate against the Registry Supporters/Terrorists criminals who think they are acceptable. I expect most PFRs are like me and have zero need to change, seek “help”, or worry about what any RS/Ts care about. I’m a normal person living a normal life, except for being harassed in useless, idiotic ways… Read more »

@ suzie:
” it all comes down to Choices that individuals make in their lives and whether or not they want to change…”
And once their behavior indicates a change, shouldn’t they and their loved ones be entitled to develop and prosper?
Don’t bother to answer, you already did.

I respect all views, but your posting is a jumbled mess. Is Saddles your ghost writer?

“None of this changes the fact that Lopez was only a few years ago, not 15 or so… Barely 13 approx.
Now let’s remember that Lopez the Perpetrator was raping these little girls for years”

13 years ago and not 15. That is important? Then, you’re claiming he raped them for years systematically. The article says he did it several times only.

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