Who's Watching Your Children?

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - When the sun sets over Linder Farms, kids know the fun is just getting started.

"I'd say with field trips and classes, we probably get 5,000 to 6,000 kids coming out and probably twice that in the evenings with their families," said Randy Feiste, Linder Farms owner.

Each September, Feiste hires about 150 people to staff rides, zoos and corn mazes.

Those workers are in constant contact with children.

That's why Feiste doesn't rely solely on his gut when picking employees.

He runs background checks.

"We want them to have a great experience and we don't want anything bad to happen while they're here," he said.

Feiste has reason to be careful.

Around this time last year, Haunted World in Nampa added a registered sex offender to its payroll.

Investigators were already after Joshua Stueckle for moving from Oregon and not registering.

Stueckle broke the law again when he had sex with two underage girls from Caldwell.

Detectives worked with Haunted World and busted Steuckle when he showed up for his shift.

At the time, Haunted World owner Scott Ethington told KBOI 2News he would change the company's screening process.

"We will have our policy and procedure manual changed as well as people above the age of 18 - we will be doing checks," he said.

KBOI 2News tried calling and emailing Haunted World to see if the business did change policy, but one one ever got back to us.

Anyone can do a background check on someone, whether it's a company or a regular person.

You can get the application on the Idaho State Police website.

But how much information you get, depends on what type of check you want and whether that person's authorized it.

"If the person that is the subject of the record has signed a waiver, then you'll get the whole criminal history," said Dawn Peck, with the Idaho State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigation.

If that person hasn't signed a waiver, you won't find out about any arrests that happened over a year ago, if the case isn't settled.

Idaho State Police offers two types of background checks, name-only and fingerprints.

Last year, the BCI ran 18,000 names and nearly 70,000 fingerprints.

Nearly 19 percent of the fingerprints came back with positive hits, meaning someone was charged with a misdemeanor, a felony or both.

Idaho law doesn't require seasonal operations like Linder Farms to do background checks.

In Idaho, not even all daycare workers get checked.

Under the law, they're only required for child care centers with seven or more children.

They're also needed for people and groups licensed or certified with Idaho Health & Welfare.

It includes those who work with children and vulnerable adults.

But in many cases, it's up to each agency to decide what, and what is not, a deal-breaker.

"If it's a misdemeanor from 20 years ago, is that the only thing that's on the record, and is it a crime that's relevant, maybe it isn't something that's worth making a big deal over," Peck said.

But Feiste said there's a peace-of-mind that comes with knowing he's covered all his bases.

"We're having a great time and it's going to be a great Halloween," Feiste said.