No background check for registered sex offender who formerly worked at Toronto hospital
Toronto Western Hospital terminated a janitor last month after he was charged in child sexual abuse investigation, but now Global News has learned that’s because Terrence Noftall was a registered sex offender who failed to disclose his prior conviction to the hospital and the hospital admits it never performed a criminal background check.
According to court documents obtained by Global News, Noftall, 55, was arrested in June 2008 and charged with sexual assault, invitation to sexual touching and sexual interference. The alleged incidents happened between Feb. 1 and June 12, 2008.
In February 2009, Noftall pleaded guilty to only sexual interference, according to court documents he “did for a sexual purpose touch a person under the age of fourteen years.” The first two charges were dropped. Noftall was sentenced to 30 days in jail, in addition to 251 days served in pre-trial custody.
He was also given three years probation, a ten-year weapons prohibition, a ten-year Section 161 prohibition order and a ten-year placement on the sex offender registry. The young victim’s identity is protected by a publication ban.
Gillian Howard, the vice president of communications and public affairs for the University Health Network (UHN) which oversees the Toronto Western Hospital, wrote in an email to Global News that they do not comment on matters of individual employment. But she discussed the organization’s policies.
“UHN conducts background checks in some areas such as security but it is not standard practice when we hire employees, and as far as we can determine, this is the case in most hospitals,” Howard wrote.
She said it’s up to professionals to report to their respective colleges with regards to outstanding warrants or convictions.
“In addition, we have attestations on our employment forms regarding outstanding warrants or convictions. Failure to report is grounds for termination or, in the case of a physician, loss of privileges,” Howard said.
Noftall was arrested on Jan. 11 and charged with eight counts. Toronto police alleged he met a woman at the hospital and befriended her child before sexually assaulting the child, sending inappropriate messages and attempting to make child pornography. He was also charged with a breach of a prohibition order.
John Muise, a former police officer and victim advocate with the group Abuse Hurts, commented on Noftall’s Section 161 prohibition order.
“That is for somebody that the judge thinks might be dangerous to a child and some other vulnerable person and probably some of the conditions that we one there are things like don’t be in the company of a child, don’t be in the company of a child without an adult present,” Muise said.
“When you think about it, a ten-year order, that’s not something that’s given by the courts in this country, cavalierly or lightly.”
Muise said the University Health Network should be doing criminal background checks on every employee that works in one of its hospitals.
“I’m sure that they (the UHN) have lots of employment forms sitting in their HR department where people have lied about the nature of their past,” he said.
© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.