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UPDATE: SATURDAY, JULY 8, 12:10 P.M.
Since this report was published, District officials have fired Bryant. Kevin Donahue, deputy mayor for public safety and justice, issued the following statement to City Paper today:
“Earlier this year, the Department of Human Resources initiated a top to bottom review, which is still ongoing, of the safety, protection, and security sensitivity classification of all District positions and the screening guidelines required. The person in question is no longer employed by the Department of General Services.”
ORIGINAL POST: The Department of General Services’ Protective Services Division, the police force responsible for law enforcement and security at all District properties, hired a registered sex offender in February to work as a management analyst with access to city facilities, a criminal reports database, and information about summer youth hires, according to federal court records, District employee listings, and MPD’s Sex Offender Registry, among other sources.
Adam Harrison Bryant was hired Feb. 6 to a Grade-13, management analyst position with an annual salary of $86,244 per year. His LinkedIn page describes his role as being responsible for monitoring data trends, analyzing contract proposals from prospective security contractors, preparing contracts, inspecting facilities, and verifying the accuracy of security contractor invoices.
Current and former Protective Services officers, who requested anonymity, express concern that DGS hired Bryant apparently without complying with the city’s criminal background check requirements. And, if the department did run a background check, they wonder whether Bryant’s job is appropriate given his past.
According to federal court records, Bryant was captured in an undercover sting in which he responded to a message on the D.C. Craigslist website that advertised “family fun for discrete clientele only.” Members of the FBI Innocent Images Task Force engaged Bryant in monitored phone and online conversations in which one of them posed as the stepfather of a 13-year-old girl who would be made available for sex in exchange for $1,000. The FBI arrested Bryant at a bar in Arlington, where he was waiting for the purported stepfather to deliver the fictitious child.
He pleaded guilty to enticing a minor for illicit sex on July 24, 2008, and was sentenced in October 2008 to 40 months in prison, to be followed by 120 months of supervised release.
It is not entirely clear what Bryant’s official job responsibilities are, but sources at the agency say he is involved with, or has access to, information about young people enrolled in the Summer Youth Employment Program, a District initiative former Mayor Marion Barry started to provide “District youth ages 14 to 24 with enriching and constructive summer work experiences” at both government agencies and in the private sector. As a management analyst, he also reportedly has access to the District’s crime reporting database.
Ward 3 Councilmember Mary Cheh, whose committee oversees DGS, says she is concerned about whether the agency conducted appropriate hiring procedures and whether those procedures are sufficient to screen ex-offenders like Bryant for potentially sensitive jobs.
For Cheh, the matter involves more than a single employee. While overly restrictive hiring procedures aren’t the goal, she says, government protocols should be suitable for the relevant positions and personnel.
“This sounds somewhat disturbing to me,” Cheh says. “Ultimately, the government makes decisions about whether certain crimes eliminate people from eligibility for certain jobs. Certain crimes have a way of recurring, and sex crimes involving children fit that description. We should not be putting people with that background in positions of access to information about young people. That’s an easy judgment to make.”
D.C.’s Department of Human Resources personnel instructions, dated April 16, state that the District assesses each job applicant’s suitability in terms of character, reputation, and fitness for duty through uniform criminal background checks and drug and alcohol testing, as deemed necessary. Positions deemed “safety sensitive,” “protection sensitive” or “security sensitive” require criminal background checks, the instruction says. Upon a conditional offer of employment, agencies, including DGS, provide the applicant with forms to submit to the program administrator, DCHR, or a vendor responsible for “enhanced suitability screening.” If the applicant has a criminal history, DCHR’s Compliance Unit conducts a “suitability analysis” and forwards the results to the hiring agency, according to the District’s Personnel Manual. The personnel instructions list “management analyst” and “management liaison specialist” at DGS as positions that are subject to such procedures.
Reached by phone Thursday, Bryant denied that he is the person on the registry and ended the call. But the photograph of Bryant on his LinkedIn page (the photo has since been removed) matches the image of him on the sex offender registry, which shows him employed at “Unit block of New York Avenue NE.” (Protective Services is located at 64 New York Avenue NE.)
At press time, the City Administrator’s Office had yet to respond to questions from City Paper about Bryant’s hiring and screening process. Meanwhile, calls to the Department of General Services were referred to Jackie Stanley, community outreach coordinator, who did not respond to multiple emails and calls Thursday and Friday. Clarissa Rucker, public information officer for D.C.’s Department of Human Resources, also did not respond to multiple calls.
Bryant was released from federal custody in August 2011 and completed more than 63 months of supervised release, according to a court motion filed in January by his attorney, Steven McCool, in which he requested early termination of supervised release so that Bryant could move back to Texas, where his family lives. Citing attorney-client privilege, McCool declined to comment.
On Jan. 27, a U.S. District Court judge denied the motion on grounds that Texas authorities declined to assume responsibility for supervising Bryant. DGS hired Bryant 10 days later, on Feb. 6, according to D.C.’s employee listings. He remains on supervised release, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
We will update this post if District officials respond.