SACRAMENTO (CBS/AP) -- A state Senate oversight report finds that at least 23 sex offenders have been approved to work as drug and alcohol counselors in California over the past eight years.
A Fresno Bee investigation concluded there was nothing in state law to prevent sex offenders and others with criminal records from becoming counselors in California, even though such roles give them direct contact with people, including teens, at their most vulnerable.
The Senate Office of Oversight and Outcomes report shows that California is more rigorous in screening veterinarians and nearly all other health professionals than it is in checking the backgrounds of addiction counselors.
The newspaper cited several examples of sex offenders who became counselors upon their release from prison, including a man who was diagnosed as a "sexual psychopath" and deemed a danger to others.
(Copyright 2013 by CBS San Francisco. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
for more features.