As Sen. Susan Collins makes a difficult decision about Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s qualifications for the Supreme Court, I am reminded of a difficult employment decision I had to make several years ago.

I was then the owner and director of an all-girls summer camp in New England. Shortly before camp opened one June, I had to fill a position in my maintenance department after a longtime employee was injured and could not perform his duties.

I called Mr. X, someone who had previously worked on our spring work crew. He was personable, a hard worker, got along well with the other spring work crew members, had a solid resume and had passed a standard background check. Nor was his name on the national public website of sex offenders. I offered him the job, and he accepted.

One day later – and two days before the campers arrived – I received a phone call from someone with a local number who said she was one of Mr. X’s relatives. She knew he had worked for me in the spring, and that he had just been offered a job for the full summer. She told me he had molested two girls in their extended family and felt I ought to know about this before the campers arrived. She would not give me her name and did not want me to say anything about this to Mr. X.

I thus had what I considered to be a credible accuser (she knew his exact position vis-à-vis his hiring status at my camp) who had no motive to report this to me, other than concern for campers whom she didn’t even know. However, I had no corroborating evidence of her account.

After much thought, I retracted my previous offer to Mr. X. What would you have done?

Phil Steele


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.