SC family taking on Wal-Mart in court over hiring sex offenders - - Columbia, South Carolina

SC family taking on Wal-Mart in court over hiring sex offenders

(Richland) April 19, 2006 - After six years of waiting, the family of a Columbia girl who was molested by a Wal-Mart employee and repeat sex offender will have its day in court.

Wal-Mart has been around since 1962. It wasn't until two years ago the company began checking the criminal history of the people it hires.

Maria Hollins thinks it the policy may have been spurred by her family's action, "I'm hoping it's because we took a stand."

Hollins' daughter was 10-years old when she was molested in a Wal-Mart on Forest Drive. Her attacker: a store employee and repeat sex offender.

Hollins says, "He pleaded guilty to it. He apologized to Wal-Mart, including me and my family."

But six years later Hollins is still waiting for Wal-Mart to say sorry. She's still haunted by what happened the day she went to the store about the assault.

She says the manager handed her a $25 gift certificate, "That kind of got me going like, you can't just do that to people. You can't just offer them something and not take responsibility of what you're not supposed to do."

Hollins is suing Wal-Mart for negligently hiring convicted sex offenders.

The case caught the eye of Court-TV. The network will cover the trial.

David Massey is an attorney for the Hollins, "We have already won, no matter what happens."

Massey says since the Wal-Mart began checking up on applicants and employees, sex offenders have been removed from the stores, "That's a beginning. Unfortunately we had a lot of children that, while they were waiting to do the right thing, that got hurt."

Hollins' case isn't the only one. Similar lawsuits were filed in Arizona, Houston and just this past August, another one in South Carolina.

Nathan Perry is another parent enraged with the store, "Enough is enough! I just want justice for the kids!"

Perry says two years ago his 12-year-old daughter was molested at the Orangeburg supercenter by employee and registered sex offender Curtis Scott.

Perry and his wife, who now live in Florida, are coming up this weekend to support Hollins in court. Hollins appreciates it, "That makes me feel good. I got more parents willing to stand up to a big company like this, to say we're not going to stand for it."

Also coming from Florida to show support for these families, Mark Lunsford, the man behind "Jessica's Law."

The law is named after his nine-year-old daughter who was raped and murdered by a known sex offender.

The trial starts Monday.

Reported by Angie Goff

Posted 7:19pm by Chantelle Janelle

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