UPDATE: Welder on stage with Governor Walker a sex offender - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

UPDATE: Welder on stage with Governor Walker a sex offender

Posted:

MADISON (WKOW) -- Gov. Scott Walker (R-Wisconsin) is trying to explain why a registered sex offender joined him at the podium for Wednesday night's State of the State address.

He's calling it an oversight by a reliable state employer, that recommended the man to be part of the ceremony.
   
Christopher Barber of Two Rivers was one of 14 people the Governor recognized for finding a job since he took office, not knowing the 32 year-old has a dark criminal history.

The man heralded as a success story to the state legislature is a convicted felon who is in the state's sex offender registry.

"Well, obviously it's frustrating," said Gov. Walker (R-Wisconsin).  "There's no way we'd know that he'd been on, out of all the people that had been out there."

Along with a conviction for third-degree sexual assault, Barber's also been convicted of felony forgery, misdemeanor battery and drunk driving.

The Governor says Ariens Company of Brillion recommended Barber to take part at the last minute and that he had no reason to question their judgement.

"In this case I guess, the irony was because this was a seasonal employee who did so well at the job they were then transferred up to a full-time employee they did not do a full-scale background check which is why he slipped through.  Obviously, we would have never had this person up if that was the case," said Gov. Walker.

Governor Walker points out that Wednesday night's mishap was nothing more than an unfortunate accident.

"Remember, these are not examples of people I hired, people I put in my cabinet or people in any way that work for the state government," said Gov. Walker.  "These are people in Wisconsin who have been hired over the last three years and obviously, if we'd known there are thousands of other examples we could have used that would have been preferable."

According to Ariens Company, Barber joined them in December of 2012 and worked his way up from part-time employee to full-time on the paint line.  He then moved up to welder, gaining his certification for welder 1 status.

But a spokesperson for Ariens says the company is now reviewing its hiring process.

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MADISON, Wis. (AP) -- Gov. Scott Walker says he is frustrated that a registered sex offender who stood next to him during the State of the State speech was not caught during a background check.

Walker reacted Thursday to the news that welder Christopher Barber is a registered sex offender with two felonies and three drunken-driving offenses.

Barber was one of several workers Walker introduced during his speech to illustrate an improving state economy.

Barber was hired by Ariens Co. in Brillion in late 2012. He wore his welding helmet and work gloves on stage with Walker during the speech.

Online court records show Barber has been in and out of jail for much of the past 10 years.

Walker says he assumed a background check had been done, but it had not.

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MADISON (WKOW) -- A welder who shared the stage with Governor Scott Walker during his State of the State speech is a registered sex offender with two felonies and three drunken-driving offenses.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel first reported Thursday on Christopher Barber's criminal record. Barber was one of several workers the Governor introduced during his speech on Wednesday night to illustrate how the state's economy is improving.

Barber was hired by Ariens Co. in Brillion in late 2012. He wore his welding helmet and work gloves on stage with Walker during the speech.

Online court records show Barber has been in and out of jail for much of the past 10 years. Walker's spokesman Tom Evenson told The Associated Press if Barber's record had been known he wouldn't have been asked to participate.

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