Sunday, June 1, 2003

Company owner won't hire teens

Employee charged with abuse

The Associated Press

CYNTHIANA, Ky. - Days after one of his employees was charged with sexually abusing middle school students at a picnic, the owner of Event of the Season said he's making changes at his company.

Ed Davis, of Lexington, will no longer hire teenagers to work party and picnic equipment his company provides for events. He also plans to supervise more events himself.

Harrison County Schools rented an inflatable slide from the company for its year-end picnic. A teen employee and his friend helping the children onto the slide were charged Wednesday after two girls said the workers touched them inappropriately. Twenty-three girls and three boys in all reported abuse.

"The fact that it's people's children makes me sick to my stomach," Davis said.

Davis hadn't had trouble with teenage employees until this week, but he now wonders whether 16- and 17-year-olds should work with school children.

"I just feel like maybe they are not going to be responsible enough when they are that close in age," Davis said.

Davis does background checks on employees, but laws make checking juvenile backgrounds difficult, he said.

One of the teens had worked for Event of the Season for three summers. The other was a friend the employee had brought along in the past to help unload the equipment.

Davis said the worker's friend should have left the park after helping unload the equipment, and neither should have been at the top of the slide. Usually, one worker stands at the bottom of the slide and goes to the top only if a child needs help, Davis said.

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