Bob Jones University Administrator Suspended For Soliciting Prostitute 22 Years Ago

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Joseph Bartosch was hired in 2007 by Bob Jones University. Sixteen years before, he was charged with soliciting a prostitute. Roughly 1 in 5 American adults have arrest or conviction records, and many of them hope that prospective employers won't ever find out about their pasts. Joseph Bartosch, right, wouldn't be exceptional in that regard except that he's the chief brand officer at a fundamentalist Christian university in Greenville, S.C., and was charged earlier in his life for soliciting a prostitute.

Bartosch, a 1982 graduate of Bob Jones University, was hired in 2007 and was named chief brand officer last year. But it wasn't until March 15 that the administration discovered Bartosch had been arrested and charged with solicitation two decades earlier; he had served three days in jail and was later sentenced to three years of probation, according to South Carolina TV station WBTW. A university spokesman said that when the school's administration asked Bartosch about his criminal record, he confirmed the allegation and was "indefinitely" suspended the same day.

Neither the school nor Bartosch responded to requests for an interview by the Greenville News, located in South Carolina.

More:Job Hunters Cry Foul Over Employers' Use Of Background Checks


AOL Jobs contributor and employment lawyer Donna Ballman says that Bartosch's predicament isn't "unusual" in the labor market. Ballman said in an email that "some states prohibit employers from asking about arrests and convictions, but most allow this. If you're asked, you have to tell the truth or risk being fired if your employer finds out you lied."

This past April, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released new guidelines on the use of arrest and conviction records in employment decisions. In what was seen as a victory for job seekers, criminal background checks are only sanctioned by the EEOC when they are deemed to be job-related and necessary for the business. An employer can fire or refuse to hire someone for any reason, Ballman asserts, including a criminal record.
"The exception would be an illegal reason such as discrimination" -- as when minorities can prove that they are being targeted, Ballman says. "Or whistle-blowing," she adds.

Bob Jones University describes itself on its website as a "biblically faithful" school. It made major news in the 2000 election for hosting then-candidate George W. Bush while still banning interracial dating, according to CNN. (It overturned the policy in March of that year.)

The school plans to investigate Bartosch's case. But according Greenville TV station WYFF, when Bartosch was hired, the school did not conduct background checks of its employees, a practice it now implements.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said that Bartosch was hired by Bob Jones University in 2012. He became the school's chief brand officer in 2012 but was first employed in its Information Technologies Division in 2007.

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