A convicted child molester spent last Saturday teaching 60 kids flight safety at Stoney Creek Airport.
Charles Wendell Haines, 79, volunteered at Young Eagle Day, a one-day program that gives underprivileged children airplane rides. It's run through the Experimental Aircraft Association.
Haines volunteered and taught flight safety to children eight to 17.
Haines said organizers never asked for a police background check. He claims most EAA members already knew of his record.
"They knew a lot of what happened. I didn't pursue it," Haines said yesterday. "Some people have asked about it. I say they have nothing to worry about."
Peter Meszaros, vice-president of the EAA, confirmed some members were aware of Haines's 1992 convictions. He said Haines was never left alone with a child and posed no threat.
"We don't feel guilty in any way of anything," Meszaros said last night. "He posed no danger to any child."
A check would have revealed that Haines was sentenced to three years of probation for six counts of sexual interference involving girls six to 12.
Haines, a retired police officer, pleaded guilty to molesting girls on a school bus he was driving in Stoney Creek. He also pleaded guilty to molesting a relative in his care.
That news came as a shock to Settlement and Immigration Services Organization, which sent 30 kids to the weekend event.
"I would have expected a heads up," said executive director Morteza Jafarpour. SISO pays for criminal record checks on its own volunteers, Jafarpour said.
Though not required by law, such checks are "industry standard" for groups that work with kids, said Colin Green, past-president of Professional Administrators of Volunteer Resources of Ontario.
Meszaros said the association has considered requiring checks for new members, but hasn't had a reason to. The executive held an emergency meeting last night, but he said no decision has been made on a change in policy.
Haines said he's not a risk to children, adding he was even allowed to continue as an air cadets leader after his conviction. He just pleaded guilty to spare his accusers trial, he said.
"People make a mountain out of a molehill ... I did nothing wrong."