Sex offenders at the mission? They don’t know…..

 

sexoffendor

In today’s news coverage on WJHG, media offered an update on an individual who has been denied services by the VA for cancer and this persons plight was reported in local media. WJHG reporters with apparently just the simplest of research found out that the individual was a registered sex offender and has been convicted of three counts of lewd and lascivious molestation on minors. Rescue Mission management claimed they were unaware that he was a sex offender and now state that “this incident is forcing them to change their policies, and will immediately begin checking the sex offender status for all of the Mission’s clients.” WHAT?!?!? They are telling us now that they have not been checking this all along? One would think that this would have been one of the simplest of  things to clarify when admitting people into their programs. Is this how a supposed professionally run (their term not ours) service organization that uses community money screens people? How many more sex offenders has the the rescue mission missed and crammed into the density of our downtown community? Another black eye for the Rescue Mission management.

Earlier this week NewsChannel 7 told you about a local man who claims the VA Healthcare System was refusing to treat him for cancer. Now, it appears there may be other reasons, besides the VA scandal, for David Smith’s lack of treatment.

The strange case of Smith began Monday when the Panama City Rescue Mission sent out an appeal for help. The e-mail said Smith was an 84 year old homeless veteran who showed-up at the mission a few months ago, suffering with prostate cancer.

He supposedly received a letter in March from the VA saying he’d have an appointment in two weeks, but never heard anything more.

Smith said, “They do not care for their veterans and that hurts me. I got to the point I didn’t know what to do and I’m still working on it.”

After several local media outlets reported Smith’s story Tuesday, people began stepping forward. Dr. Jefferson Trupp, a Bay Medical Sacred Heart Oncologist, saw the reports and offered his help. However, as news organizations were working on this latest development, other facts began to surface.

Apparently Smith is a registered sex offender, convicted on three counts of lewd and lascivious molestation on minors in the late 80’s and early 90’s. He served eight years in prison, until his release in 2001.

Smith claims he was released because the state dropped the charges. However, Rescue Mission officials say that’s not the case.

Thursday evening Mission officials released a statement saying, in part, that Smith provided a document showing that he was committed to a mental institution after his release from prison. He wasn’t released from the mental facility until earlier this year. Records also show Smith is not 84 years old as he claimed, but 77.

We questioned his claims that he served in the Korean War, at age 16, and in Vietnam. Veteran’s officials confirm he, at least, served in Korea.

Naval Support Activity-Panama City, which houses the local VA clinic, tells NewsChannel 7, sex offenders are not allowed on base. It’s unclear if the VA will accommodate veterans with sex convictions.

Rescue Mission officials say they’re not 100 percent sure which category Smith falls under, but it seems he still has some serious mental deficiencies.

As for Dr. Trupp, he says he’ll still help Smith receive treatment. He also says he plans to work through the VA to pay for that treatment. Dr. Trupp said, “I’ll be calling a urologist at the VA to discuss where we go from here.”

Mission officials also say this incident is forcing them to change their policies, and will immediately begin checking the sex offender status for all of the Mission’s clients.

http://www.wjhg.com/home/headlines/Mission-Changes-Policies-After-VA-Scandal–263925541.html

  1. Mike Adams

    How in the world can the people over David for being a convicted sex offender let him work at the Mission with children and the computers that have all this family’s information ages, addresses, and so on. I can’t believe this is happening. I for one know before Thurman Chambers took over we kept track of sex offenders and did not allow them on the property four years I was there prior to March,2014.

  2. Move the mission

    Mike, that is a good question. Other former staff members who carried senior roles with the organization have commented that upon mr. Chambers arrival a whole laundry list of best operational standards were quickly thrown out the window leaving a haphazard structure of how to run the day to day operations. Compound this with the massive turnover in employees, this has created the perfect storm for the very problems outlined in this article. The most frightening part of this scenario is that this potentially is only the tip of the iceberg. What other operational procedures have been abandoned to the point that chaos has ensued? This new found lackadaisical attitude towards operations could fester its way from dealing with children, to monitoring potential drug use to having little accountability with monetary transactions at the multiple thrift store locations. When does this stop? When does our community slam on the brakes and force the mission administration to do the right thing by the community they serve?

    Amanda Bawn:

    The Mission acknowledged it’s mistake in not enforcing the sex offender policy. Procedures had not been kept up to date for 2 years. Does that point to current administration laxness, or previous administration laxness? Former. Had manuals been easy to find or kept up to date, the currentv staff wouldn’t be finding itself starting from scratch. We have also corrected the mistake and are moving forward. Also, interesting is the fact that a few former staff and board said it was the police’s job to come check for sex offenders daily. I don’t know if that was the agreement, but if it was apparently they hadn’t done so since at least Feb.

    Move the mission:

    WRONG!!! Are you as an employee of the PCRM going to go on record as making the statements that you just did? Is this the official statement of the management of PCRM? Because what you are doing is the same nonsense that some who like to support Obama like to use by blaming former adminstrations, “its Bush’s fault”. But here is the problem you’ve got, you are now telling us your FORMER executive director was operating in a slimy fashion by abandoning existing operational standards that are critical to community safety and now you have a NEW executive director who is operating as an incompetent, because he didnt know that the procedure was no longer in place or that there was even a need for one? Seriously? We called three operational managers from three different shelter locations and asked how do they and how should others handle the issue of screening for sex offenders. The response we received from every one of them that this was a core function in their procedures and was adhered to with the strictest guidelines. Mr. Chambers was hired to do a job. The former director received a salary of $80,000 per year to do a job (which he failed at) and we are assuming that Mr. Chambers has a similar compensation package. For that kind of money, a high standard of excellence is in order and it appears our communities charitable dollars that are going towards his salary are being wasted. Additionally, Mr. Chambers returns to the mission with supposed years of industry experience. Does he really not know that monitoring sexual predators is a major issue for the facility he is paid to run? What other things does he not have his eye on? What other things is he unaware that he should be monitoring?   What you are telling me is that he can’t do the job. As he cant do the job, perhaps he along with every mission board member, who also can’t do their jobs, should offer their resignation and hand over the keys to a team that can offer our community services in a way that are done professionally and respectful of our charitable dollars.  When board members allowed Billy Fox to reallocate funds for general operational use that were originally designated for capital improvements to the Bethel Village, they were not doing their job and potentially endangering the very existence of the organization as this was a direct violation of IRS regulations. When board members who are aware of food stamp money abuse and refuse to address it, they are violating regulations of the DCF and endangering the existence of the organization, they are not doing their jobs. When only a select few board members participate in bringing in Chambers with a sweetheart deal and not the general approval of the board, they are violating their own bylaws. They are not doing their job. As far as the police involvement, it is not their job to check status , its YOURS. You are the ones running a facility and getting paid to do so. Your organization likes to brag about not accepting any tax dollars (which you really do) but you sure are quick to USE tax dollars by tying up police resources to do what is basic administrative work that is your responsibility. Perhaps we should retitle our blog page from “move the mission” to “close the mission”.

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8 Comments

  1. Mike Adams

     /  June 22, 2014

    How in the world can the people over David for being a convicted sex offender let him work at the Mission with children and the computers that have all this family’s information ages, addresses, and so on. I can’t believe this is happening. I for one know before Thurman Chambers took over we kept track of sex offenders and did not allow them on the property four years I was there prior to March,2014.

    Reply
  2. Mike, that is a good question. Other former staff members who carried senior roles with the organization have commented that upon mr. Chambers arrival a whole laundry list of best operational standards were quickly thrown out the window leaving a haphazard structure of how to run the day to day operations. Compound this with the massive turnover in employees, this has created the perfect storm for the very problems outlined in this article. The most frightening part of this scenario is that this potentially is only the tip of the iceberg. What other operation procedures have been abandoned to the point that chaos has ensued? This new found lackadaisical attitude towards operations could fester its way from dealing with children, to monitoring potential drug use to having little accountability with monetary transactions at the multiple thrift store locations. When does this stop? When does our community slam on the brakes and force the mission administration to do the right thing by the community they serve?

    Reply
  3. Amanda Bawn

     /  June 29, 2014

    I am trying to make sense of it all, too. It seems logical to have a sex offender policy in place, so why was one not established until 2013? I don’t know. I was told the police took care of it back then. If it was my job to make or influence policy I would not have agreed with much that went on. I should have been a watchdog but I wasn’t.

    Should we ask if it was so important to have one last year, why wasn’t it documented well? It’s because when people quit or get fired from any organization they are not concerned with the organization or given time to train the next person. That’s why any good organization needs systems in place.

    I am not sure about your claims about Mr Chambers. But yes, it does seem like someone with a lot of experience would know this and I assume he does. Perhaps, he has not had time to deal with daily operations with the financial mess he walked into. Chambers didn’t create the financial woes, he was hired to help turn things around, and he has begun doing so.

    Also, why is my other comment about Mike Adams awaiting moderation?

    Reply
    • Amanda Bawn

       /  June 29, 2014

      Interesting this above comment comes from roommate and best friend of the one your own website slammed recently…Mr Ken Owens. Mike Adams was let go for poor job performance. In fact, Mr Chambers has tightened all financial policies and began cleaning house of problem staff upon his arrival, including Mike Adams and Ken Owens, they very people Billy Fox chose to let slide by for years without questions or accountability.

      Reply
  4. Amanda Bawn

     /  July 6, 2014

    Clarification on my statement about Ken and Mike…I do not know the official reason these two were fired from the mission. It was only my speculation that they werre fired due to poor job performance. There may have been other reasons. Only Ken, Mike, and Mr Chambers know the real reasons. My statement was not an official statement by the Mission, but my personal observations. When the Mission decides to make official comments they will be made with their name, not mine. I will be encouraging the mission and board to investigate all claims made by your site and to make official statements in response, so then it will be clear they are official statements and not my personal statements.

    Reply
  5. mikel

     /  July 23, 2016

    I just recently moved downtown about two years ago on Harrison Avenue close to the Martin theater I have a small child around 2yrs of age. I like the Panama City downtown area other than the homeless people over-running the parks shitting in alleys and all seems to stem from that ‘Rescue Mission’ that is ran by the big eyesore church I think it’s time to move the rescue mission and its registered sex offenders out in the woods so they can defecate out there or let him come stay in your neighborhood “mr. Good Christian”

    Reply

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