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Churches are not required to run background checks on youth ministers

HENRICO, Va. — Churches in Central Virginia are not required to conduct background checks on employees that work with kids, unless they work for a licensed daycare run by the church.

Doctor Roscoe Cooper is the Pastor at Rising Mount Zion Baptist Church in Henrico and he said it is up to the individual church to set hiring practices.

“The church is not licensed by the state, so therefore, the individual church, governing board, governing body determines what processes and procedures they will use to hire employees,” Cooper said.

Cooper said his church does run background checks on every employee that works with kids, including youth pastors.

“In this day and age, I think it’s imperative and important for churches, any persons who are going to have any activity with children, that a background check needs to be done,” Cooper said.

Still, background checks on church employees who work with kids are not required by law, which is something Hopewell mother Tabitha Whitehead said she believes should be mandatory.

“They should because this is children we’re talking about, it’s to the point a child might be scared to come to a parent and say what’s going on,” Whitehead said.

Whitehead feels especially uneasy with the current set up after learning  Deric Peacock, a youth pastor at Church of God in South Hopewell, is accused of online sex crimes against children.

“I would think a youth pastor would not do something like that,” Whitehead said.

Whitehead said her eight-year-old daughter received tutoring at Peacock’s church, and he would sometimes oversee her child and others on the playground.

Whitehead said her daughter never had any problems with Peacock.

“I thought everything was fine,” Whitehead said.

CBS 6 reached out to the church to find out if they do background checks on employees, but we have not hear back yet.



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