University housekeeper, gang member to face trial

A GW housekeeping employee will face a trial May 31 on charges of possession and intent to sell marijuana, marking his fourth criminal arrest in three years – all while employed by the University.

Leon Flythe, 28, was arrested by Prince George’s County Police officers in his Suitland, Md. apartment with more than 23 pounds of marijuana, ammunition and $4,000 in cash May 4. He has worked for the University since 2008 and was placed on unpaid leave after GW learned of the incident following media reports, University spokeswoman Candace Smith said.

Flythe was arrested twice in 2010 for second-degree assault and marijuana charges, and then twice in 2011 for disorderly conduct and domestic violence, according to Maryland court records.

The Prince George’s County Police Department information website also identified Flythe as a “known gang member.”

Smith said the University is not notified of criminal incidents involving employees outside of the University Police Department jurisdiction, a process she said “is not unusual.” She said he no longer has access to campus buildings, but declined to comment on which specific buildings Flythe previously had access to, only saying he was assigned to clean in “office areas.”

Individuals are only subject to background searches for initial hires, promotions and transfers, and Smith said there is “not a process in place” if an employee is criminally convicted after employment begins.

“GWPD notifies the university if they make an arrest of a GW employee, but other police departments are under no obligations to notify employers if an employee is arrested,” she said in an email.

When asked about the specific procedure for background checks during the hiring process, Smith directed The Hatchet to the University’s Human Resources website, which details the minimum level of background screening required for all applicants, promotions and transfers.

The basic background check includes a criminal history screening, degree verification, Social Security number trace, sex offender registry search and prior employment verification, according to the website.

UPD is not investigating Flythe’s on-campus presence, because there are no reports or evidence of potential crimes he committed at GW, she said.

A criminal record is not an “automatic bar to employment,” GW’s Human Resources website shows. When asked specifically about the University’s procedures for hires with past records, Smith deferred to the website, which did not specifically address those situations.

GW conducts its background checks through an external firm, Smith said. She declined to release the name of the company.

Georgetown University’s human resources office conducts background checks on employees if the school learns of “conduct that may pose a danger to others,” according to its website.

“In the event that the University has reason to believe that a University employee has engaged in criminal conduct,” the website read, “the University reserves the right to require the employee to satisfactorily clear a background check as a condition of continued employment.”

GW’s Human Resources website does not detail policies mandating additional screenings for employees whose behavior violates the staff’s standards of conduct.

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