Advocate Calls for Boycott; Sex Offender Says McDonald's Knew
(Story created: 5/2/06)
A nationwide boycott of McDonalds -- that's what a child safety expert wants after a NewsChannel 5 investigation. He wants it to force the company to do background checks to keep molesters away from kids who eat and work there.
Click here to read the first statement from McDonald's corporate office about the allegations in this story. Click here to read a statement from a Tennessee McDonald's franchise owner regarding the incident that occurred in Franklin.
The federal government has sued McDonald’s franchises in Arizona, Arkansas and New Mexico for failing to protect teens from sex harassment and assault. Click a state to read more about these cases.
Some viewers have asked how they can contact McDonald's regarding this story. Click here to do so.
Our exclusive NewsChannel 5 investigation found dozens of sex offenders working under the golden arches.
McDonald's says it will not hire people that it knows have committed sex crimes at its company owned restaurants. But its franchisees are free to hire anyone they want,
It's something that Jody Gorran, founder of the National Foundation to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse, wants to change. He says:
"Boycott is an American tradition whereby the public can vote with their dollars, with their pocketbooks to effect change -- and in this case the change will be to make McDonald's take as much care in the hiring of employees as they do in making their hamburgers and fries."
But it may not be as simple as doing background checks.
One man says some McDonald's knowingly hire sex offenders -- and he may know better than anyone.
He's a convicted sex offender and, until today, he worked at a local McDonald's restaurant.
"Everyone knew I was on probation for statutory rape," Scott Smyers told NewsChannel 5's chief investigative reporter Phil Williams.
Scott Smyers was a shift supervisor for this McDonald's in Franklin.
But Tuesday, after two years, the franchisee that runs the restaurant fired him, citing his listing on the state's sex offender registry.
Smyers was convicted for having sex with a 17-year-old when he was 21.
"I think they fired me because they don't want the publicity," he says.
It comes after an exclusive NewsChannel 5 investigation revealed that Nicholas Aloyo, a former worker at the same McDonald's, had previously been convicted of soliciting sex from a minor.
He was recently re-arrested for possessing child pornography.
A statement released by the restaurant owner claims, "I would never knowingly hire registered sex offenders in my restaurants."
But Smyers says, "They knew Nicholas Aloyo was a sex offender. They knew I was a sex offender..."
In Aloyo's case, probation officers had rated him to be a high-risk to commit new sex crimes. And the judge ordered that Aloyo accept "no employment ... in contact with minors."
"Nicholas, I knew from Day One that he shouldn't have been working at McDonald's," Smyers adds.
"He was in contact with minors?" Phil Williams asks.
"All the time."
Perhaps, most disturbing: on the restaurant's McFamily Nights, Smyers says Aloyo was the one who took care of the children.
"They would allow Nicholas to be the one to be out in the lobby with the kids, set up the little bowling alley for the kids, sing on karaoke with the kids."
He adds, "If you have an offender, and you knowingly allow them to go play with kids, it's probably not a smart idea."
As for Smyers, he says his days under the golden arches may be over, but it's probably just a sign that it's time for him to do something else.
"This is God's way of telling me, here you go, there's your door. Go find what you want to do."
The local owner, James Daughtry, faxed a statement to NewsChannel 5 after the broadcast saying that Smyers had "falsified his employment application."
But Smyers says he knows that his bosses knew that he was a sex offender.
In fact, Tennessee probation officials say they have a strict policy. They check with employers to make sure they know who they've hired.