QC Characters is (was) a new business startup in Iowa that hoped to provide actors dressed as popular children’s characters for parties and special events.

Unfortunately, one of QC Character’s first hires was James Lester Rogers. The company sent Rogers dressed as the Sesame Street character called Cookie Monster to the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds to drum up a little business. While Rogers was at the entrance to the fairgrounds, he saw an old acquaintance and removed his Cookie Monster head to say hello to him. In the excitement of his new job and being reacquainted with his old friend, Rogers forgot several things:

  • He is a registered sex offender and not allowed to be around children, even disguised as a cookie-loving furry blue monster.
  • A true character actor never breaks character while performing and they certainly never remove their head.
  • The “old friend” was actually his former probation officer.

Clearly, there are no IQ requirements to work as Cookie Monster.

Rogers was previously convicted of committing lascivious acts with a child in Linn County, Iowa and is listed on the Iowa Sex Offender Registry. He also had two contempt of court findings against him subsequent to his conviction.

QC Characters’ owner admitted to news sources that he made a serious mistake by not running a background check on Rogers. “I should have took my time, and done a background check but … you learn from your mistakes.” He says that he had intended to send Rogers to children’s parties and other events, which also would have been a violation of the terms of Rogers’ sex offender registration. Fortunately, the business was so new (or ill-conceived) that they had not yet had any customers. Rogers was quickly arrested (imagine having to move through Central Booking in a Cookie Monster outfit) and, we assume, QC Characters has changed its name because of all of the bad publicity.

Many inexperienced employers make the similar mistakes in underestimating the risks associated with hiring people without first conducting a background check. You can bet that the owner of QC-Characters won’t make that mistake again.