Letter: Nonprofits often find background checks impossible
Regarding "Sex offender's appearance as Santa Claus sparks outrage," please know that my organization, American Bikers for Awareness, Training, and Education (ABATE of MN), does not condone sexual violence and has great compassion for abused victims of domestic, physical, sexual or child abuse.
While our main focus is on the protection of motorcycling freedoms, motorcycle safety training and motorist awareness of motorcycles on the road, we have donated tens of thousands of dollars to worthy causes in every part of Minnesota. Through our charitable gambling license we have contributed to countless cancer groups, women's shelters and youth organizations. Our "Buddy Bear" program provides teddy bears to ambulance services, EMTs, and fire departments to provide a bit of comfort to anyone, young or old, involved in a traumatic experience.
It is inconceivable to ask that every nonprofit (like ABATE), every Rotary club, every church group, the Shriners, softball associations — even the Cannon Falls Chamber of Commerce — that all volunteers be subjected to extensive background checks. It is simply not possible, especially with the privacy laws the state of Minnesota has enacted.
My organization has been slandered in public, libeled on Facebook and other social media, and harassed locally. As I stated earlier, I have great compassion for all victims of abuse of any kind, but the anger and efforts of these people should be directed to the Minnesota Legislature, not at a group of motorcyclists who could not possibly have known what happened a decade or two ago.
Mack Backlund is the state coordinator for ABATE of Minnesota.