Sheriff Mike Byrd of Jackson County in Mississippi told CNN that a rape could have been prevented by BP, but it wasn’t. Byrd said that if BP and its contractors had taken the step to do background checks on all the new workers flooding the area for a job, one woman would not have been raped by a sexual offender supervising her.
“It’s sad because you got a victim now by a sex offender, and he’s in our jail. Had we have known this, he would have been arrested before the crime could have been committed,” Sheriff Byrd told CNN.
The arrest Byrd is referring to is the one that would have occurred when they learned Rundy Charles Robertson had failed to register in the area as a sex offender when he applied for work with BP.
Robertson’s failure to register as a sex offender in Jackson County, when he moved into the area–as he is supposed to do legally–would have resulted in him being arrested if a background check had been conducted. That would have made him unable to commit the rape his subordinate says happened to her while working for him in the Gulf.
BP Supervisor a Sex Offender on Probation
Robertson, 41, is now facing charges of sexual battery as well as failure to register as a sex offender in the area. His bail was set at $505,000 and he has not entered a plea yet. Robertson is claiming it was consensual sex.
Rundy Robertson is no stranger to the judicial system, having a record law enforcement might say is a mile long, with arrests going back as far as 1999. He made the National Sex Offender Registry in 1996, due to a conviction in Louisiana for contributing to the delinquency of a minor. Another arrest, and later 2003 conviction in Georgia, stemmed from Robertson doing time for cruelty to children.
On probation for the latter crime, Robertson was still required to register as a sex offender whenever he moved, like John Gardner–the Chelsea King and Amber Dubois rapist and murderer from California. But like Gardner, Robertson didn’t let law enforcement know when he moved and took the BP job in the Gulf.
BP Lets Sex Offender Be a Supervisor
But even worse, BP, nor its contractors–Miller Environmental Group, or Aerotek–bothered to conduct background checks on Robertson or other Jackson County BP Gulf workers. This has sparked outrage from many who feel that the irresponsibility of the Gulf leak is just one irresponsibility of BP: now BP is endangering Gulf residents in other ways too.
Robertson wasn’t just a BP Gulf clean up worker either; Robertson was one of the supervisors on the job clean up site. In fact, he was the supervisor of the woman who was raped.
This unwillingness to do background checks on even the people put in charge of other workers, some say, is cause for even more alarm. And Aerotek employee Leonard Nelson, who supervised Robertson in the Gulf, was just as uncomfortable about the lack of background checks as others.
Aerotek Supervisor of Robertson Speaks
“There were quite a few, quite a few drug dealers from what I saw, people from all walks of life. You had guys walking in who actually had collars on, you know, the bands for house arrest. I don’t know about you, but that strikes me as people you don’t want working here,” Robertson’s manager, Leonard Nelson of Aerotek said.
Yet Nelson was charged with hiring Robertson without conducting a background check on him first. A check that would have shown his criminal background and violation of his requirement to register in the area as a sex offender. Jeff Reichert, legal counsel for Aerotek, said the company was only following orders from the contracting outfit that hired them: Miller Environment Group.
“We are a staffing company. Our policy is at the client’s request,” Reichert told CNN. He went on to add that they only conducted drug and physical testing on the workers.
Miller Environmental Group Casts Off Blame Too
BP hired Miller Environmental, who, in turn, hired Aerotek to staff the Gulf clean up. But as Aerotek pointed the finger at Miller, Miller didn’t follow suit, refusing to point the finger at BP as the ultimate responsible party for the alleged rape, or to comment in any way whatsoever on the matter.
But the BP of security was who Sheriff Mike Byrd originally spoke to as workers began to pour into the area for the clean up. When told by BP’s head of security that only drug screenings were being conducted on the clean up workers, Byrd said, “You’re kidding me?”
The BP security head said, “No, There’s so many of them, we were told to do drug screens and that was it.”
Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd Pushed for Background Checks
Byrd said this conversation took place mere weeks prior to the rape, and after hearing the BP security head’s comment that day he told the BP man, “Well, that’s not good at all. You’re going to have every type of person coming in here looking for a job, and you’re going to have the criminal element in here. And we’re not going to know who we’re dealing with if we don’t do background checks on these people.”
But BP, nor Miller Environmental nor Aerotek conducted the background checks requested by Byrd. And Rundy Robertson’s sex offender registration violation went unnoticed in Jackson County. Robertson now sits in Byrd’s jail for an alleged rape of a female Gulf BP worker.
Source: CNN, August 12, 2010