Summer Camp background checks not nationwide

AUSTIN (KXAN) - According to the American Camp Association, state background checks are mandatory for anyone dealing with children in summer camps, but federal background checks are not. That’s including a tightening of the rules in an effort to make it safer to send kids to camp.

Some organizations still take additional measures to ensure safety. The YMCA runs 20 summer camps in Travis and Hays counties.

Spokesman Andrew Wiggins with the YMCA told KXAN it goes a step further.

“Not only do we do the state background checks, but we also put every single employee through the FBI fingerprint database,” said Wiggins. “Then, we also run them through the Texas DPS sex offender registry. So, we feel very good about who we hire after running their names through all of that. We feel we have hired the safest individuals.”

That type of background check could have stopped at least one predator.

Matthew Bovee was as a flagged offender from Nebraska, but no federal background check was done on him. So when he applied to work at Camp La Junta, he was hired. Allegations of intimidation and abuse began soon after camp in 2004.

Bovee is now in prison here in Texas, but he wasn’t imprisoned until 2011, after several years involving more allegations, more victims, more arrests.

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