Recently, a convicted sex offender was taken into custody and arrested as a result of an anonymous tip provided to the police. The man, identified as Brian Liska, was located at a Boy Scout's meeting at Irving Elementary School in Bloomington, Illinois. Liska faces Class 4 felony charges of being a child sex offender in a school zone.
At the time of his arrest, Liska was reportedly wearing a Cub Scout leader uniform. Procedure necessitated the uniform being taken as evidence in the ongoing investigation resulting from the felony charges. Bloomington police spokesperson Dave White stated that after the anonymous tip that prompted the authorities to confront Liska at the meeting, he was escorted away from the children at the meeting and arrested out of sight in a nearby hallway as to not alarm the children.
Sex Offender Registry
The police report that the Boy Scouts did the customary background check for all volunteers who work within their program, but the search did not uncover any such information about Liska's previous conviction. According to the Bloomington police the reason his sex offender status could not be located during the search was because the original offense had occurred more than 10 years earlier and therefore he was not listed with the state's online sex offender registry. By law, he was not required to be listed on the state sex offender registry. The terms of his conviction, however, mandated that he not be on any school property without first informing that school's staff so that a school official could escort him. The conviction for aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a victim 13 to 16 years of age occurred in 1997, when Mr. Liska was 23.
Prior to the tip, apparently neither the authorities nor the Boy Scouts knew of Liska's previous conviction for sexual abuse of a child. Had they known the organization says it would never have permitted him to volunteer with the group. After the arrest, the Boy Scouts of America issued a statement saying, "Consistent with scouting policies, upon learning of these matters, the Boy Scouts of America immediately revoked this individual's membership and he was removed from scouting."
At this time, there is no indication of any kind of inappropriate conduct between Liska and any of the Scout members with whom he associated. After he posted a $300 bond, Liska was released from McLean County jail and he was due back in court on November 4 for arraignment.
Authority Figures and Juvenile Sex Offenses
The subject of inappropriate conduct with children has become a national topic lately due the allegations revolving around a former college football coach at Penn State University, as well as an assistant coach at Syracuse. Parents and community groups are looking closely at coaches, teachers, volunteers and others who work with children. In some cases, this may mean simply checking the offender registry. Other, more intensive background checks may also become commonplace as the fear of potential sexual abuse grows. More than ever, a person convicted as a child sex offender faces a lifetime of consequences.