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Lack of Background Checks for N.J. EMTs Allows Some to Easily Hide Criminal Past

TRENTON — Robert Melia Jr.’s arrest in April 2008 drew international headlines, and for good reason: He was a police officer indicted on charges of sexually assaulting three young girls, and engaging in a sex act with several cows.

But when the Moorestown cop renewed his certification as an emergency medical technician that fall, he checked "no" in the box asking whether he had ever been charged with a crime, and nobody questioned it. It took another two years before the health department suspended EMT privileges for Melia, who was convicted of sexual abuse and other crimes four months ago. And the state’s action came only after a member of the public alerted officials.

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