Criminal Background Check Resources

Discussion in 'Becoming a Freemason' started by nfasson, Oct 14, 2014.

  1. nfasson

    nfasson Registered User

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    The Lodge that I'm petitioning to has requested that I run my own criminal background check as part of the application process, but I'm not sure where to start.

    They suggested the State Police, but I was handed an application that requires a notary public to sign and weeks to process.

    Any ideas as to the best avenue to get one done that's both legit in the eyes of the Lodge and doesn't take long? Thanks for any info.
     
  2. Mike Martin

    Mike Martin Eternal Apprentice Premium Member

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    You should speak to a Law Enforcement professional where you live.
     
  3. admarcus1

    admarcus1 Registered User

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    Try asking the Grand Lodge to find out is they have any preferred providers. There are any number if companies that will do it for you. The Grand Lodge if MA has a link to one on their website. The federal check is almost instant. Local depends on where you are.
     
  4. BroBook

    BroBook Premium Member

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    Is this a new lodge or did they just implement the rule? they should already know who you need to see .
     
    dorwin thuga likes this.
  5. admarcus1

    admarcus1 Registered User

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    Criminal background checks don't have to go through a LEO or find someone with connection. Anytime you apply for a job, they do a background check. You can be sure that the police wouldn't want to deal with all those requests. Private companies do it for you.

    GL of MA uses Infocheckusa. The link is below. They send the report directly to you (not the lodge or GL), so there is no reason you can't use it out of MA, I imagine.


    http://www.infocheckusa.com/masons-ordering-mass.html
     
    dfreybur likes this.
  6. nfasson

    nfasson Registered User

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    Great. That helps immensely. Thanks!
     
  7. MaineMason

    MaineMason Registered User

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    My Blue Lodge has a PM who is a former police chief, and our Secretary is the former Fire Chief. As far as I know, online background checks are not done in my lodge. They much prefer to interview candidates and their friends and family.
     
  8. MaineMason

    MaineMason Registered User

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    Another thought: I am a line officer. In a handful of years, God Willing, I'll be Master of my lodge. Unless my sense leaves me, I would not troll around the internet while looking at a candidate. There was no internet when my second great grandfather was made a Mason in England, or when my great grandfather was made one in Massachusetts, or when my grandfather was made one in New Jersey, or even when my father was made one in Massachusetts. The men who vouched for me went to church with me. I was honest on my application. That should be enough. Digging around, in my opinion, is un-Masonic and when the day comes, I won't run my lodge like that.
     
  9. MaineMason

    MaineMason Registered User

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    And yet another thought: The Massachusetts Consistory (of which I am a member) and its bodies did not go searching for me when they accepted me.
     
  10. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    It may not be your choice... NM requires a background check and the petitioner knowingly pays the fees. I've personally discovered reasons to object (as part of an Investigation Committee) to a petitioner, just from looking at local court records.
     
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  11. MaineMason

    MaineMason Registered User

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    As far as I know the Grand Lodge of Maine does not require a background check. I might know, because I have served in an IC here. For many years, before I became a Mason, I was a liturgical musician and was subjected to background checks. All of which I passed. That being said, I have an issue with the idea of going too far into the history of a candidate as men can be measured better by interview than by "objective" information one might find on line.
     
  12. dfreybur

    dfreybur Premium Member

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    Multiple GLs are in the process of requiring criminal background checks conducted by the GL office so they are standard state wide. Getting it in place is a bumpy process because there are so many legal details. When I lived in Illinois I voted on more than one GLofIL proposal about it. This year in December GLofTX will vote on one.

    I favor a standardized process but I think expecting a candidate to do one one himself is fraught with potential problems and is not a good idea. But your jurisdiction your rules.
     
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  13. MaineMason

    MaineMason Registered User

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    If a man has a past which includes less than honorable behavior, it suggests to me that it would come to light in conversation. I know many of you don't agree with me on this, but how can one build trust when a candidate's background is so heavily researched? What ever happened to "properly avouched for"?
     
  14. admarcus1

    admarcus1 Registered User

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    The background check in MA in no way replaces an investigation, and no one pokes around on the internet. The petitioner is required to order the background check to be delivered to himself, not the lodge or the GL. They must be willing to show it to the investigation committee, but it is never given to them or recorded anywhere. What this does is weed out anyone who would seek to hide a criminal past. The responsibilities of the IC members are the same as before the background check was implemented. It's a painless extra check to discourage those who may misrepresent themselves. It's not "heavily researched'. As I said earlier, the federal check is close to instantaneous, and local takes a little longer (though not by much). If you have ever applied for a job or for a volunteer position dealing with children, you have almost certainly had a background check on you done. Whether you know it or not, you almost certainly authorized such a check on your application. Should we do no less?

    For a job, you probably authorized a credit check as well.
     
    Last edited: Oct 15, 2014
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  15. Brother JC

    Brother JC Vigilant Staff Member

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    Several decades ago you would have called a petitioners references, gone to his home, spoken to his friends and co-workers. That's police investigation level snooping.
    I have done a simple search on a single website and discovered patterns of dangerous recklessness, spousal abuse, and criminal indebtedness, none of which came to light during conversations with the various petitioners, or the paid "background check." We can agree to disagree, Brother Maine, but trusting any of those men with the Tools of the Craft would have been a grave mistake.
     
    Keith C, MaineMason, MarkR and 2 others like this.
  16. Warrior1256

    Warrior1256 Site Benefactor

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    A criminal background check is not required in Kentucky but if this were proposed I would be in favor of it.
     
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  17. nfasson

    nfasson Registered User

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    I agree. I have no problem with the check bc I'm clean, but I just find it odd that I'm running it on myself. If I was dishonest, I could just run one locally and not include national or use some cruddy online site.

    I would think it would be a lot better for the Investigation Committee to perform the check and just charge me for the processing. That would ensure it's legit and thorough enough to their satisfaction. I don't want any doubts when it comes time to vote!
     
  18. admarcus1

    admarcus1 Registered User

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    In Massachusetts, there is a particular site you have to use for the background check, so you can't find a cruddy online site that will do whatever you want. The company has been vetted. Also, you go through a particular link. You couldn't run one locally and not include national because a report from both are required.

    See the first page of the background check report I received from InfoCheck USA. You can see that it is immediately apparent that I did both the national and country.

    As for running it yourself, it's a privacy issue. In MA, not only do you run it yourself, but at no time does the lodge take possession of it. You are required to show it to them, not give it to them, and they don't want it. No information from your background check is retained in the records of the Lodge or Grand Lodge. background.jpg
     
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  19. admarcus1

    admarcus1 Registered User

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    You should check with the GL in the jurisdiction where you are petitioning. If the local lodge is asking, the Grand Lodge can probably give you the info (though the local lodge secretary should be able to give you the info). I wouldn't want you to spend money on a report from the link I posted if your GL has its own requirement.
     
  20. MaineMason

    MaineMason Registered User

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    "Criminal indebtedness"? My goodness, we have no debtor's prisons in Maine. I am not against rigorous research, however, I guess I just take a more old fashioned view in the way to do it. "Criminal indebtedness", by the way, is the subject of a book all Masons should read: "Slavery By Another Name :The Re-Enslavement of Black Americans from the Civil War to World War II" by Douglas A. Blackmon.

    "Criminal indebtedness"? Really? My goodness. Two-thirds of the Masons on Wall Street and in Washington should be expelled for that!

    Perhaps that's a little hyperbole, but I know plenty of Masons, and good ones, who had some scrapes with the law in their background, most of them for being "outside agitators" in the South some decades ago and some decades even more near to our own.
     
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