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Few have access to abuse database

Few have access to abuse database

Douglas Conrad’s name is on a state child abuse database that would prevent him from adopting a chil

Douglas Conrad’s name is on a state child abuse database that would prevent him from adopting a child or working for a day care center.

But the database wasn’t accessible to Saratoga Springs school officials who hired him as a school bus driver.

School districts and most employers can’t access the State Central Register compiled by the state Office of Children and Family Services, said office spokeswoman Pat Cantiello.

School districts do criminal background checks on prospective employees through the state Division of Criminal Justice Services, but criminal charges weren’t filed against Conrad when allegations were made against him in 2002. He was not arrested until earlier this month, when city police charged him with four counts of misdemeanor forcible touching of two 14-year-old boys at his city apartment.

The civil record against him includes a Saratoga County Department of Social Services letter that he is “indicated” in the alleged sexual abuse of two youngsters, who accused him of exposing himself to them when they were in the care of Conrad’s aunt, Julia Guyette, at her home day care facility in Mechanicville.

The Troy parents of a boy who was age 6 when he said the exposure occurred provided a copy of this letter.

Being “indicated” means there is some probable cause evidence, but it doesn’t mean there are necessarily criminal charges, Cantiello said.

The State Central Register also is different from being listed on the state’s sex offender register, Cantiello noted. The central register is tied to a 24-hour child abuse hot line that people can call if they suspect child abuse.

County employees investigating abuse cases can tap the database to determine whether the person has a history of complaints against them.

The state also checks the child abuse background on the database of people applying to adopt a child or become foster parents, prospective day care providers and agencies that operate residential facilities for children.

Schools can’t search the database for prospective public school teachers and other employees.

“The law is very specific about who you can do State Central Register background checks on,” Cantiello said.

“Indicated” individuals stay on the list for 10 years after the youngest child involved turns 18, Cantiello said. If someone is accused of abusing a child and the complaint turns out to be unfounded or have no credible evidence, the listing stays on the register for 10 years.

Meanwhile, Conrad is on administrative leave with pay pending the results of an internal investigation at the Saratoga Springs School District. He is free on bail.

Conrad’s roommate, James Wiley, 60, also was charged with a felony count of criminal sex acts with a minor. Arrest papers said Wiley attempted to perform two sex acts on a 16-year-old boy the afternoon of Jan. 15 at his apartment.

He was arrested late Friday night and remains in Saratoga County jail for want of $10,000 cash bail or a $20,000 bond.

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