Editorials

Sex crime, violent crime fail to be crime enough to stop adoption

Christopher M. Derleth was 17 in 1994 when he first faced a felony for filming himself having sex with a girl younger than 18. Then his second felony charge came in 1999 when he punched a Granite City police officer in the face and stole his squad car.

That sex crime and that violent crime are matters of public record. The record of the cop attack is online and can be viewed by anyone.

So how exactly in a state where you cannot serve as a day care worker or temporary foster parent if you have a sex crime on your record, and where national criminal record checks are required, do you get to be a state-paid babysitter and then get to adopt two little girls?

Someone at the state has some explaining to do about how Derleth was an appropriate child care worker.

Part of the answer on the adoption is that while Illinois requires a fingerprint-based state and national criminal check of prospective adoptive parents, a criminal record does not necessarily stop a person from adopting a child. The judge weighs the significance of the criminal background against the total background of the individual.

It is apparent on which side Bond County Circuit Judge John Knight came down in 2015. He allowed Derleth to adopt Katherine and Amber.

A year later, 13-year-old, intellectually disabled Katherine gives birth to a baby. The father is to be determined, but Christopher Derleth abducted the youngster and her newborn and fled to West Virginia.

Now it is apparent that Judge Knight misjudged. It is also apparent that a thorough investigation of how Derleth was approved as a state-paid babysitter is needed.

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