Failure of Statewide System Known For Months Without Action

Published:
Updated:
  • Rapback system failures revealed publicly August 3rd
  • State union president said AG officials knew of Rapback problems March
  • Rapback problems resulted in 649 people arrested statewide with no employer alerted.

Last week, the Attorney General reported that the Rapback system aimed to protect children if their bus drivers, teachers, or foster parents run afoul of the law was broken.

The system is triggered by arrests. It notifies school and state officials if a person of trust has been arrested and should no longer work with children.  The system problem, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine said, was only discovered in July. 

However, some say the problem was known for much longer.

President of the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association Christopher Mabe now says management within the Attorney General’s Office knew of the problems months earlier.

"The people that actually do the work are the ones that people in the upper echelons listen to the least," said OCSEA President Chris Mabe.

The Association's president says they wanted to use the Rapback system in March as a reporting system for their employees, if any ever got in trouble, but couldn't.

Multiple Ohio Agencies Alerted They May Have Criminal Employees

"We have this system, why don't we just utilize it for ourselves and there was questions amongst supervisors talking to employees about problems with the Rapback system at that time. This goes back to March timeframe," added Mabe.

Given the problems with Rapback, the Attorney General’s Office never opted to use its own system as an early warning system for its own employees.

AG officials disagree.  AG Spokeswoman Eve Mueller said the office decline to use Rapback because “our expectation that our staff will be personally and professionally responsible and nothing to do with Rapback.”

Rapback was being discussed at the time because the Attorney General’s Office had a policy requiring employees to self report illegal activity that the union was grieving. The union wanted to use Rapback instead of having employees self report and initially filed a grievance over the requirement.

The union later dropped their grievance about self reporting.

When the Attorney General made the announcement last week about Rapback problems, agency officials said they knew of 100 instances where people in positions of trust with children were arrested without employers being notified.

DeWine said at that the time, that number was expected to grow.

At latest count - system problems with Rapback resulted in 624 employees were arrested, but their employers were not notified. The Attorney General's Office is not revealing who escaped arrest alerts.

DeWine has said the problems were due to a problem with Rapback’s software. Failures occurred because the system was overloaded and the software vendor, 3M Congent, had not provided updates as promised. The system, he said, has since been fixed.