Joseph T. Rohrer's previous conviction for possessing child pornography

Registered sex offender convicted of sexually assaulting a minor whom he encountered while volunteering under a fake name at a Pennsylvania youth camp.  

After a preliminary background check came back clean and without negative results, Todd Brown began volunteering at Hope’s Haven Rescue and Youth Camp, a non-profit organization with the mission of rehabilitating at-risk youth and neglected horses.

Unfortunately for Hope’s Haven, Todd Brown was not who he claimed to be.

Todd Brown’s real name is actually Joseph Todd Rohrer. He volunteered under a fake name, presumably, because he didn’t want it known that he was a registered sex offender.

Previous Criminal History

In 2013, Rohrer was convicted of possessing child pornography and was sentenced to five years probation and lifelong sex offender registration. He was found to be in possession of at least 273 files. 

Rohrer eventually demonstrated to the courts that he was not interested in rehabilitation when he violated the terms of his probation by viewing images of boys in suits. In 2014, a year after being convicted, his probation was revoked and he was sentenced to up to 23 months confinement and 5 years probation.

Rohrer’s responsibilities as a volunteer with the organization were to rehabilitate horses on an off-site location away from the main camp. His responsibilities did not put him in direct contact with any of the campers.

That is not to say, however, that Rohrer was never found on the main camp property. According to camp official IdaMay Hornberger, Rohrer “visited the camp on a few occasions for open-house events and to help fix things up and cleanup,” but, per camp policy, was never left alone with the campers.

Sadly, in spite of the camp’s precautions, Rohrer still found a way to victimize one of the camp attendees.

Rohrer’s New Crimes

Rohrer eventually admitted to the police that, while volunteering under a fake name, he had sexually assaulted a camp attendee sometime before Thanksgiving 2018. The victim was also a relative of another camp volunteer with whom Rohrer had entered into a relationship with.

In August 2019, Rohrer pleaded guilty to the charges of sexual assault by a volunteer and failure to register under Megan’s Law, in addition to other felonies. He was sentenced to serve 15 to 30 years in prison.

It is unclear how long Rohrer was able to volunteer with the the non-profit, but the camp officials became suspicious when Rohrer reacted negatively to the additional (and required) fingerprint checks. As a result, camp officials ran a more in-depth background check and it was revealed that Todd Brown was a fake name and that Rohrer was, in fact, a registered sex offender.

At this point, Rohrer’s involvement with Hope’s Haven was terminated.

Since the preliminary background check came back with no red-flags, it is probable that an identity verification was not performed in the original research. If it had, it would have been found that the fake name given by Rohrer was not at all associated with the provided social security number (if one had been provided at all).

Additionally, this would have been cause for further inquiry, eventually revealing that Rohrer provided a fake name and, hopefully, would have revealed Rohrer’s criminal history and sex offender status.

Employer Lesson: Any quality background check should include a form of identity verification. It won’t matter if the background check comes back clean if your candidate isn’t actually who he or she claims to be.

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