Security Clearance Denial

Registered Sex Offender Denied Clearance

Every once in a while, I run across an appeals case that makes me shake my head and wonder why on earth they tried applying for a job that required a security clearance. This particular one takes the cake. The applicant was initially denied clearance eligibility by the DoD based on concerns involving criminal conduct, sexual behavior, and alcohol abuse. He subsequently appealed to the Defense Office of Hearing and Appeals (DOHA). Here are the highlights of the case.

From 2011-13 the applicant was a cadet and football player at a military academy. During his time there, he was involved in multiple incidents of sexual assault and alcohol abuse. He was eventually court martialed and dismissed from the academy. As a result, he was also required to register as a sex offender in his state of residence. In 2019, he was involved in punching a ride-share driver in the face after out drinking with friends. The police responded and the applicant refused to cooperate with their inquiries. He was arrested for assault, resisting arrest, and obstruction.

During his appeals hearing, the applicant submitted a letter from a clinical social worker he had sought counseling from. The letter downplayed the seriousness of his behavior, and it clearly showed that the applicant had not been entirely candid with social worker about his past. Taking this and the applicant’s refusal to accept full responsibility for his behavior into consideration, the DOHA judge found the criminal, sexual, and alcohol concerns were not mitigated – clearance eligibility was denied.


  1. Are there any registered sex offenders with clearances?


    Yes, you would think otherwise. This is why during one of my security interviews, my investigator told me “ I don’t talk to random people in the agency , even though they are cleared, you just never know.”


  3. In my experience, certain types of sex offenders just get better at hiding it. This gives me the hee bees.

    Grats to that dude for paying his dues, but I get the impression he’s the exception not the rule.

  4. I have reviewed a few cases over a couple decades where the subject was unfortunately a sex offender. One was a very high up person in a government agency and the case was appalling and has stuck in my mind for over 10 years. It makes you angry to say the least.

  5. That makes it sound like they are everywhere and that cant be right.

  6. Did they get cleared?

  7. I think what she was trying to say was clearance eligibility does not guarantee a person’s integrity in our normal standard. In my view it just means the person has less likelihood to risk our national security…

  8. I have no clue, we aren’t told that information after our part is completed in the background investigation process. But I am fairly certain there are some sex offenders with a clearance somewhere.

  9. I appreciate your feedback and I know it’s a very hot topic. As one of the writers above said, if they have served their penalty and have mitigating factors and skills the govt needs… then maybe they should have redemption? Depends on what they did clearly. Interesting discussion.

  10. I think it’s important to suspend your personal distaste when making these decisions. We don’t know the totality of this person’s life circumstances. Though I find their life decisions at best repugnant, I agree with the adjudicative outcome.

    It’s very easy to get stuck in a morality loop with this kind of stuff. I know I wouldn’t have married this person.