Investigation reveals Disney employees arrested in child sex sting

Jul 15, 2014 at 1:30 p.m. ET
Image: Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images

Walt Disney World is a place where dreams come true, but all employees there are not suitable for being close to kids on a daily basis. The sad truth was revealed after a child sex sting discovered that dozens of park workers have been arrested for child sex-related charges.

At least 35 Disney employees have been arrested

Walt Disney World in Florida employs over 65,000 people, and you would think that one of the world's most famous destinations for families would hire only the best employees. However, it turns out that since 2006, there have been 35 individuals arrested for sex charges involving minors. Overall, 32 have been convicted, and while none of the charges stem from situations that directly involved children or teens who were visiting the park, there were a couple that involved possession of child pornography on Disney property.

CNN spearheaded a six-month investigation and shared the disturbing news that the individuals were charged with sex crimes involving children, trying to meet a minor for sex or for possession of child pornography. The investigation included not only examination of court records and law enforcement interviews but interviews with the accused and convicted former employees as well.

One man who has been arrested told CNN that he was looking to protect the 14-year-old girl he was trying to meet for sex — a lame excuse that you're likely familiar with if you've ever watched Dateline: To Catch a Predator. He was going to notify the authorities after going to the home to ensure that she was safe. Is that likely? No, but that's his story and he's sticking to it. Several others have claimed the same eye-rolling story.

Is Disney safe for your family?

The good news is that the percentage of bad seeds revealed in this investigation is extraordinarily low. The fact that none of the crimes involved visitors to the resort should also be a huge relief for families — but that doesn't mean that these are the type of adults you want around your kids. I know that I certainly don't. It's definitely something that you should consider if you visit the resort, especially if you have plans to leave your children under supervision of park employees.

Privacy and civil liberty issues prohibit employers from administering polygraph tests to potential employees, but as a result of CNN's investigation, U.S. Representative Dennis Ross of Florida has proposed a law that would make an exception for businesses that cater to children. Walt Disney World does conduct thorough background checks already, but if a person hasn't been arrested or convicted of a crime, then there's no way to tell if they have that tendency.

It's a step in the right direction, and I hope that Disney is able to adequately respond to the massive media attention this investigation has brought upon the company.

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