ENABLER – Pastor Todd Thomas – Hired convicted sex offender to work in nursery school

Thomas defended his hire saying
he didn’t believe Buffington was a threat.

Would you hire a registered sex offender to work at a nursery school? One local pastor did and is defending his decision.

Five parents pulled their children from Bethesda Cooperative Nursery School after learning the hired maintenance man, Travis Buffington, is a registered sex offender.

Ellen Burgess, the school’s director, says she did not hire Buffington — Pastor Todd Thomas did. Thomas apparently did so knowing Buffington, 33, had served time for possession of child pornography.

“We have heard and understood the parents’ fears and concerns and are going to be working quickly to show our respect for their feelings and to resolve our current situation,” Thomas tells WTOP in an email.

Buffington, who served time for possession of child pornography in Michigan, was allowed to live on church property in January. After learning of his status as a sex offender this week, five parents pulled their children from the program.

Burgess says she didn’t know about Buffington’s background until recently and would never have hired him.

“We’ve made it very clear that this is unacceptable and we’re working towards a resolution.”

At a recent meeting with parents, Thomas defended his hire saying he didn’t believe Buffington was a threat.

Burgess explains the independent school is affiliated with the Church of Bethesda, but that she does not have say on Buffington’s hire.

Buffington was charged with possessing child pornography in 2005 and convicted in 2006.

Buffington has since resigned and moved after officials at the nursery school demanded his removal.

“25% of all sex offenders re-offend within 15 years”

………Sarah Tofte

Published in: on February 18, 2009 at 6:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

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