USNA Criminal background checks?? Urgent

Discussion in 'Naval Academy - USNA' started by wallacen, Jan 10, 2015.

  1. wallacen

    wallacen New Member

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    Already been accepted to USNA through a letter of appointment. I have had an arrest recently for the stupidest thing with some friends and was charged with petit larceny. I have got a dismissal from the court and it is sealed. I cannot sleep because I am so worried how this will play out even though I have already been accepted. I am going to send in my court documents to USNA and I will tell them everything honestly, but... What should I expect to hear from them? Is this going to be pushed under the rug or will there be something that will seriously damage my wish to attend the Academy?

    I have also applied to some good civilian colleges and if the academy does not work out, I have something to fall back on.

    Worst day of my life btw.
     
  2. bubalma

    bubalma Member

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    You are doing the smart, ethical thing.
    There is no such thing as "sealed records" when it comes to DOD background/security checks.
    Good luck - I think you are probably OK if you are describing things accurately.
     
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  3. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

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    Each case is handled individually. There is no way to even guess how they will respond without knowing all the details, which you shouldn't provide here.

    Your appointment might be withdrawn, but you do need to report this ASAP especially as they'll find out anyway. Of course depending on how you address this they may decide to let you attend, in which case you better be on your best behavior. BTW there is always someone each year in this situation who loses their appointment. I hope you don't lose yours.
     
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  4. Casbus08

    Casbus08 Member

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    I dont think its a good idea to get a kids hopes up by telling them that they are probably OK when there is no way you can know that. This kid deserves honest advice and kinnems advice while not good news is right on. An arrest and charge of petty larceny is serious business and the decision making process during that incident would raise questions to the admissions board of any school. Valuable life lessons will be learned regardless of the outcome.
     
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  5. bubalma

    bubalma Member

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    You do know that "Petit Larceny" by definition is theft or damage of less that $50, Right?........ and that the charges were dismissed.
    I don't know your background; but I do know when I was at the academy there were appointees admitted that had more serious issues in their past than that. Granted that being a recruited athlete did come into play in cases.
    I don't even want to talk about some of the things that were swept under the rug while I was there.
     
  6. Casbus08

    Casbus08 Member

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    Yes I am very familiar with the defintion of "Petit larceny". I often have to give the bad news to prospective employees that we are unable to hire them due to the fact a charge of Petty larceny has shown up on their background check. In our companies opinion it is not the monitary value of the charge but the decision making process that led to the incident that is the bigger concern. I am sorry to hear that all of those things occured at the academy but maybe some of the things that were swept under the rug were committed by appointees that were admitted with more serious issues than "Petit Larceny".
    My background is that I am a Navy veteran with a DS who made the Waitlist last year. I surely hope the academy can find 1200 candidates with no "Issues" in their background. We certainly can in the civilian world, you just gotta be patient and very picky.
     
  7. bubalma

    bubalma Member

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    Well, I guess we are just going to have to disagree on this one - particularly since you haven't been at the Academy or through the process - although I am curious how your civilian background checks were able to access dismissals and sealed court records (That's always been illegal).
    For your information, a number of the cases during my time period at the Academy that were swept under the rug - although cases in general weren't numerous - were incidents involving "squeaky-clean" Mids who made bad decisions.
    The original poster is planning on doing the wise and correct thing by furnishing the Academy the details of his dismissed and sealed charge instead of waiting until the DOD background/security check (which can access these records) uncovers it. Bad things happen to applicants and appointees that try to BS their way through the process and get caught.
    No iron-clad guarantees on the outcome of his situation; but the charge was apparently minor, dismissed and sealed - His honesty in addressing it should help.
    Good luck to your son on his re-application.
     
  8. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Lets assume you don't lose your appointment, as stated earlier this will come up later on for a TS clearance. Make sure you keep all of this information filed away because they are going to ask specific questions, such as dates. Four years from now you might not recall of the important dates they request.

    I really have to agree with what everyone has stated. Kinnem is correct nobody can give you an answer. bubalma is correct that it will come up for security clearance, thus you are getting in front of the 8 ball and showing integrity. I also agree with casbus08 it might come down to USNA saying we have more than enough candidates that are equally qualified that we are going to take a pass on you.

    OBTW, bubalma, my DD interned for Make a Wish, they did a background check on her. She was shocked that they did, but looking at the big picture it made sense....they deal with many sick children and many celebrities. She said while working there they had told her many interns are rejected because of the clearance process because they did stupid things like getting caught for smoking pot or drinking underage in HS as minors, so I am pretty sure there is some way to get around the process of sealed records.
     
  9. bubalma

    bubalma Member

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    Pima:

    Good points! My only comments are:

    Regarding MAKE-A-WISH, accessing sealed court records for civilian background checks has been - and remains - illegal. If MAKE-A-WISH was able to access these records, they certainly weren't operating within the law and apparently Casbus08's company wasn't either. These are legal and ethical issues far more serious than the problem that arises if the original poster in this thread fails to share the details of his problem with the Academy - details which he has already stated that he will share.

    Regarding the original poster, he already has an Appointment which is markedly different than still being a nominee floating out there somewhere in the National Pool where it doesn't take much to derail a candidate's chances for an Appointment.

    The mindset among some people that the United States Naval Academy somehow functions on a level of perfection far above other colleges and universities - one where all Appointees have perfect backgrounds and that Honor Code violations don't happen once Appointees are on the yard - is totally erroneous; and it is definitely not true that all Appointees or Mids that fail to meet standards either lose their Appointments or are expelled (although non-expulsion penalties certainly are administered in many cases).

    The original poster to this thread will have to take his chances regarding his situation; but the Academy does value honesty, integrity and accepting responsibility highly; and its track record over the last 170 years shows a certain degree of tolerance for Appointees' and Midshipmen's lapses in good judgment - particularly regarding first occurrences.
     
  10. usna1985

    usna1985 USNA Alumnus

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    It's been years since I've gone through this (and things might have changed), but I believe that when you request a security clearance (or one is requested on your behalf), you give the investigating authority permission to access all of your criminal records, including those that are "sealed." Thus, it may be illegal for someone randomly to access these records but I'm willing to bet that in many cases people knowingly or unwittingly (in that they don't read the fine print) actually give permission for a broader search. And it's not illegal if you acquiesce.

    I know that the form I filled out when I got my TS clearance in the USN asked for all information and specifically called out records that were sealed and even those that were expunged. Ditto when I was sought admittance to the Bar. Thus, I would not count on the information not showing up at some point in your career.

    The above said, the OP's approach is the correct one in that he's being honest and transparent. Clearly not all mids are angels nor do all come from angelic backgrounds. :) However, in this super-competitive environment, there is no way to know for certain whether such an action will impact the likelihood of an appointment.
     
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  11. SpadGuy

    SpadGuy Member

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    always be honest. Tell the DSS investigator all the info - oral and written.

    Secret clearance goes back 7 years.
    Top Secret goes back 10 years.
    SCI - all your life

    btw the President and Vice-President and all 435 Members of Congress don't even have security clearances. They're politicians.
    Protection of Classified Information by Congress: Practices and Proposals www.fas.org/sgp/crs/secrecy/RS20748.pdf
     
  12. bubalma

    bubalma Member

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    Good points, USNA 1985 and SpadGuy.

    USNA1985: You are correct (as least in Ohio and Massachusetts along with I assume most if not all other states) regarding licensing agencies being able to access sealed records before a candidate's admission to the Bar and admission to some other licensed, specialized professions. Other exemptions hold true for governmental agencies (including the military), courts, prosecutors and in most states companies or agencies evaluating potential employees who would be working in healthcare, education or residential care for the elderly.

    Access to sealed records is still a no-no for companies or organizations not operating in the above areas. I am currently a senior executive at a $350,000,000 a year corporation and our legal department has advised us as part of our corporate hiring practices manual that while background checks can include criminal and credit histories, they will not include access to sealed or expunged court records pursuant to the Fair Employment Practices Act. There is enough of gray area there that I can see where Make-A-Wish might have possibly in a stretch been able to access sealed records but am still really puzzled as to how Casbus08's company was able to do so legally.
     
  13. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I think usna1985 has hit the point.

    I never in the 20 years Bullet served AD picked up my or our kids records from the flight surgeon when we PCSd because we signed a paper authorizing him the right to do it. I signed the HIPAA as an O1 wife...didn't think twice about it!
    ~ Just saying, I doubt my DD when she checked the box Yes or No thought twice about giving freedom. She just hit the YES button!

    Honestly, impo, we are getting off track.
    The OP needs to understand and accept that he is at risk.
    ~ It would be unkind to say:
    You are safe.

    It would be unkind to say:
    You are not safe.

    It would be honest to say none of us sit on the admissions board and the best answer we can offer is Hope for the best, and expect to the worst!

    Off topic, but if you have an NROTC scholarship that mayalso be under review too!
     
  14. bubalma

    bubalma Member

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    I think enough has been said on this topic. The Appointee is planning on doing the right thing and that is what counts.

    While I may be hopeful as to his outcome based on my personal observations on Academy Admissions and on-yard culture and discipline, I do realize that some may not be as optimistic. However, there is a difference between offering an opinion and being judgmental.

    That said, the Academy thought enough of this appointee that he was offered an very early Letter Of Appointment which may well help him with this dismissed and sealed issue. Those of us that have been through this process - not only ourselves but with our children as well - know that Appointments issued this early are few and far between. The vast majority of candidates are still going to end up in the National Pool where issues such as this are taken much more seriously due to the extreme competition for slots.

    Good luck to him - I think he realizes that he has learned a painful lesson.
     
  15. TV4caster

    TV4caster Member

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    If the case was dismissed then why would it even matter? If an employer asks "have you even been convicted of a crime" then the answer is no. If they ask "have you ever been charged with a crime" what is the answer? I ask because if you are tried and found not guilty then you would still need to answer "yes" to if you have ever been charged, but does a dismissal constitute never being charged?

    My oldest got a letter one time that he was being charged with trespassing after his car was found on private property despite him not having driven it. The prosecutor later sent a letter saying that they were not charging him with anything. I can't imagine he would ever have to answer yes to the question of whether he had ever been charged with anything when the letter clearly says they were not going to charge him and he had done nothing wrong. Would that show up on a background check? Isn't that the kind of thing we are talking about here?
     
  16. LineInTheSand

    LineInTheSand USCGA 2006

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    Background checks don't really work like that….

    You can get dinged on things that aren't even related to laws. This is about trusting someone with national security…. not finding who hasn't been arrested or convicted.
     
  17. AJC

    AJC Member

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    You can not have charges dismissed if you are not charged. So a dismissal is not the same as not being charged.
     
  18. bubalma

    bubalma Member

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    To clarify:

    The young man was charged with a crime involving damage or theft of less than $5o. The case apparently went to court, the charge was dismissed and the record of the incident was sealed.

    Where this gets dicey is seeing what is shown in the sealed record which the Academy and DOD do have a right to access. Was the charge baseless, was his case dismissed with a warning or was there some flawed procedure involved in the arrest, investigation or prosecution that caused the case to be thrown out? The answer to these questions is in the sealed record.

    Again, I think it is time to put this thread to bed. The young man is planning on handling this situation correctly, the Academy is not a rigid monolith when it comes to situations like this and the chips will fall as they may.

    By the way "Line in the Sand":

    Your comment is bang on. I was tasked for a extremely high security clearance ten years after I had left the Academy; and Swear to God the FBI had agents interviewing neighbors in the neighborhood our family lived in from the time I was in sixth grade until the time we built a new house and moved my sophomore year in high school.

    True story - Our family was totally amazed - not to mention our former neighbors.
     

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