In Pascagoula, Mississippi, a county sheriff alleges that an incident involving an oil spill cleanup supervisor accused of raping a colleague could have been prevented if basic background checks had been used in hiring the workers, CNN reports.
Rundy Charles Robertson faces charges of sexual battery and failure to register as a sex offender in Jackson County, Mississippi. Robertson was hired to supervise oil spill cleanup workers responding to BP's Gulf spill, including the alleged victim, who says Robertson offered her a ride home when she wasn't feeling well one day in June. According to her, after arriving at her motel, Robertson asked to use the bathroom, and then raped her, CNN reports.
Robertson was put on the national sex offender registry in 1996 for a conviction of contributing to the delinquency of a minor, and had been on probation after a 2003 conviction for cruelty to children.
Jackson County Sheriff Mike Byrd told CNN that the alleged crime could have been prevented, as weeks before it took place he had offered his department's services in providing background checks to BP's head of security, though they declined. He was shocked when told that cleanup workers were only being screened for drug use.
According to CNN, BP hired Miller Environmental Group for the cleanup operation who then hired Aerotek to seek out employees.
BP spokesman Robert Wine told CNN, "The requirement on sub-contractors to BP's contractors is one further step beyond BP's scope of control," and Aerotek representative Jeff Reichart said, "We are not liable for anything that happens," claiming Miller Environmental Group did not require them to conduct background checks. Miller Environmental Group did not immediately respond to CNN.
The alleged victim has since been laid off and is unemployed. She told CNN, "I feel angry, I feel dirty. I don't understand what gave him the right to take something -- or felt he could do what he wanted. ... I'm scared. I'm real scared."