Walker explains why sex offender honored at speech

Convicted sex offender at State of the State
Convicted sex offender at State of the State
GREEN BAY - Governor Scott Walker is doing some explaining Thursday.

"Obviously if we had known otherwise if we'd know about this information, we never would have had him listed up there,” he said.

It has to do with one of the workers standing behind him during last night's state of the state address.

That worker is a convicted sex offender, and he is from Northeast Wisconsin.

At the state of the state address, Governor Walker heralded workers who have found jobs since he's taken office.

“Chris Barber of Two Rivers is employed as a welder at Ariens Company,” the governor announced Wednesday night at the Capitol, to loud applause.

But that one man has caused a stir, because Chris Barber is a registered sex offender and felon.

He was convicted in a 2004 for third degree sexual assault in Marinette County. Barber also has multiple DUIs.

At an event in the Town of Lawrence Thursday, Walker explained why Barber's status slipped past his staff.

“This is not an endorsement of people personally. It was simply an example of some of the many people who have gone back to work since I've been in office. All the other individuals were vetted. In this case, that particular individual was added at the last minute,” said Governor Walker.

We decided to do our own simple background search of Christopher Barber using the Wisconsin Circuit Court Access website, known as CCAP. We just typed in his name and in a matter of seconds we could see his lengthy criminal history.

Ariens Company spokesperson told FOX 11 over the phone they were also unaware of Barber's past when they chose him to represent the company.

“We selected Chris based on his work performance at Ariens Company. He started as a seasonal employee in the assembly area and he was put on full time and he did training in the welding program to get his certificate to become a full-time welder,” said Ann Stilp.

Per state statute, employers cannot use criminal history found on CCAP to discriminate against potential employees. However, Ariens says it is re-evaluating its background checks done during the hiring process.

I went to Barber's listed address in Two Rivers Thursday. He wasn't home. I also reached out to him via Facebook. He did not respond by deadline.

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