September 23, 2023

A registered intercourse offender who’s dealing with new fees in Marin was assigned to work as a caregiver by a county company.

The company — the In-House Supportive Providers Public Authority of Marin — matches caregivers with individuals licensed as eligible by the Marin County Division of Well being and Human Providers. Recipients are usually low revenue, over the age of 65 and have a bodily or psychological incapacity.

The company gave an project to Brett Emmanuel Ortiz in April. Ortiz, 59, was convicted of a lewd or lascivious act upon a baby beneath 14 in Kern County in 1989, failure to register in Marin County as a intercourse offender in 1998 and indecent publicity in Marin County in 1999, courtroom data present.

In June 2022, Ortiz was booked into Marin County Jail on suspicion of molesting a baby youthful than 14 following a six-week investigation by the Novato Police Division. His jury trial on the cost of committing a lewd act upon a 9-year-old youngster is scheduled in Marin County Superior Court docket on Sept. 13.

Ortiz, who’s registered with the state as a Novato resident, couldn’t be reached for remark.

“It’s unlucky that somebody accused of a criminal offense is ready to be in the neighborhood for thus lengthy earlier than being tried,” stated Dario Santiago, the general public authority’s govt director, noting that trials have been delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Santiago stated his company adopted the letter of the regulation in recommending Ortiz.

Benita McLarin, director of the Well being and Human Providers Division, wrote in an e mail Thursday, “As all the time, the well being, wellbeing and security of our neighborhood is our prime precedence. I’m assured that our public authority is working exhausting to completely vet all IHSS staff to the best extent potential beneath the regulation.”

State regulation prohibits individuals who have been convicted of a “tier 1” crime inside the previous 10 years from serving as In-House Supportive Service (IHSS) staff. Tier 1 crimes embody abuse of a kid; abuse of an elder or dependent grownup; and fraud in opposition to a governmental well being care or supportive providers program.

Convictions that occurred greater than 10 years in the past don’t have an effect on eligibility.

State regulation additionally bars individuals who have been convicted of “tier 2” crimes inside the final 10 years from serving as IHSS staff. Tier 2 crimes embody sure violent and severe felonies, together with homicide, rape, theft, housebreaking, extortion and lewd acts on a baby beneath the age of 14.

Additionally they embody any felony offense for which an individual is required to register as a intercourse offender and any felony offense for fraud in opposition to a public social providers program. In the case of tier 2 crimes, nevertheless, the regulation offers for exceptions.

Individuals who have been convicted of a tier 2 crime inside the final 10 years should still function IHSS caregivers if they’d the crime expunged from their document; if they’ve been granted a “normal exception” by the state’s Division of Social Providers; or if the individual whom they’re caring for submits a waiver.

The crimes for which Ortiz was convicted all occurred over a decade in the past and, beneath state regulation, pending fees haven’t any impact on caregiver eligibility.

The legal guidelines governing caregiver background checks and eligibility had been tightened by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010. The adjustments had been contained in two payments, AB 1612 and SB 856, that Schwarzenegger accredited as a part of a price range bundle. The payments successfully added the tier 2 crimes to the record of convictions that bar individuals from working as IHSS caregivers.

A month earlier than Schwarzenegger accredited the payments, the Los Angeles Occasions ran a narrative reporting that greater than 200 individuals convicted of crimes equivalent to rape, elder abuse and assault with a lethal had been being permitted to work as IHSS staff.

The Occasions reported that state and county investigators had recognized 996 convicted felons working or searching for jobs in this system since background checks had been initiated in 2009 and that solely 786 of them had been declared ineligible.

Within the case of Ortiz, Santiago stated he utilized to be on the general public authority’s registry of caregivers, was interviewed by authority workers and added to the registry on March 29, 2023.

All potential caregivers are required to have their fingerprints taken and despatched to the Division of Justice for a background verify. Santiago stated the outcomes of the background verify are despatched on to the general public authority.

The one individual on the authority who will get to see the outcomes is the worker designated because the authority’s “custodian of data.”

“That individual can’t share any particulars of the data with anybody else,” Santiago stated. “They solely say if the individual handed or didn’t move the background verify.”

Nonetheless, in Ortiz’s case, one other caregiver notified the general public authority of Ortiz’s arrest in June 2022, which was reported within the Unbiased Journal.

“As soon as we came upon,” Santiago stated, “we eliminated him from the registry. This implies when a recipient contacts us for an inventory of caregivers, his identify is not going to be included.”

However whereas the general public authority might take away Ortiz from its registry, it couldn’t bar him from working as an IHSS employee. Santiago stated he isn’t positive if Ortiz whether or not persevering with to take action.

Santiago stated a lot of the caregivers working in Marin should not on the general public authority’s registry.

“We’ve round 380 suppliers on our registry, and there are a complete of 1,800 individuals assigned as caregivers,” Santiago stated. “Many of the caregivers are those that the shoppers already knew.”

Santiago stated some Marin recipients don’t thoughts if their caregiver has a prison document.

“That occurs generally,” he stated, “when you have got a member of the family who desires to handle a relative, and so they have a tier 2 offense on their document. There’s nothing we are able to do on our finish to cease them as a result of the shopper is the employer.”

Santiago stated 45% of the IHSS caregivers in Marin share housing with their shoppers and 38% of these are additionally associated to their shoppers.