One of the workers Gov. Scott Walker brought on stage with him during his annual State of the State address to serve as the faces of job growth in Wisconsin has turned out to be a registered sex offender.
As first reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Christopher Barber has been in and out of jail for the past decade. In 2005, he pleaded no contest to third-degree sexual assault.
Walker said there was no way Barber would have been on stage had his office known about his record. Walker said Barber's employer, Ariens Company, referred Barber to his office.
“The irony was because this was a seasonal employee who did so well at their job, they were then transferred up to a full-time employment,” said Walker. “They did not do a full scale background check, which is why they slipped through. Obviously, we would have never had this person up if that was the case.”
Mary Burke, Walker's Democratic gubernatorial opponent, laid the blame on Walker.
“Well, it's very disappointing and it's also disappointing that the governor isn't vetting people who he's holding up as folks we should look up to,” said Burke.
When the workers filed on stage with Walker, it was hard to miss Barber. He wore his welder's helmet and gloves on stage, and got an extra round of applause as he waved to the Assembly chamber on his way out the door.