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AIA umpire's clean background check misleading

Oct 13, 2011 Matt Roesly

The recent arrest of an Arizona Interscholastic Association umpire has the AIA wondering how he managed to slip through the cracks. Edward Lee Hartley was apprehended after he offered $400 to two girls - ages 13 and 14 - in exchange for having sex with him in a hotel room, the Associated Press reports. Hartley picked the teens up at a bus stop and drove them to a hotel, but police were called after the girls discovered the money was counterfeit. The AIA has consistently been attempting to implement process improvements in its background check system, and it's unclear how Hartley managed to get by undetected. A formal background check conducted by a licensed private investigator turned up nothing, and his past convictions weren't listed on the National Sexual Offender Registry or any state sexual offender system. "We take the safety of our student participants very seriously and we're relieved that there have been no reports of any issues or problems arising at any games which Mr. Hartley umpired," said AIA executive director Harold Slemmer. In fall 2009, the AIA hired a new agency to conduct more thorough background screenings, and has also been working on a photo identity verification card program for all game officials.