LOS ANGELES (AP) — A letter carrier who is a registered sex offender has been reassigned after concerns were raised that he was delivering mail in a San Diego suburb with many children, a Postal Service spokeswoman said Wednesday.
Dana Kennette, 53, is now in a job that does not deal with the public, service spokeswoman Eva Jackson said.
"We've taken him off his route," she said.
Kennette had been delivering mail in the Rancho Bernardo area of San Diego, where he lives.
According to the Megan's Law Web site, he was convicted of lewd or lascivious acts on a child under 14. The circumstances, location and date of the offense were not listed. A request for background on the case was pending with the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Kennette has been a Postal Service employee since August 1983, Jackson said.
Kennette could not be immediately reached for comment. A telephone listing for him could not be found.
Concern is high in the area after a sex offender was charged with murdering 17-year-old Chelsea King, of Poway, whose body was found in Rancho Bernardo this month. Police also are investigating the death of Amber Dubois, 14, of nearby Escondido, whose remains were found last weekend, more than a year after she vanished.
Earlier in the day, U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa, whose district includes the area, sent a letter to Postmaster General John E. Potter demanding to know how the service concluded Kennette was not a threat to the community.
Issa quoted a statement attributed to the Postal Service: "At the time of Mr. Kennette's offense, an extensive review of his circumstances and situation was conducted. The Postal Service has no reason to believe there is a threat to the community."
The congressman sought to find out more about the review and who made the determination.
"Has the Postal Service examined the appropriateness of assigning such individuals to carrier routes that bring them into communities with children?" Issa wrote in his capacity as ranking member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.
Issa also asked for the service's general policy when it learns an employee is on a registered sex offender list and whether any personnel policies or union agreements "restrict the ability of the USPS to provide a thorough explanation to concerned residents or remove Mr. Kennette from his current duties."
Jackson confirmed that the statement quoted in Issa's letter came from the Postal Service.
Asked whether the service knows how many carriers are sex offenders and for details on how such carriers are evaluated to remain on routes, Jackson said in an e-mail that those questions "are national issues that are under review at our headquarters in Washington, D.C., and will be covered in our response to Congressman Issa."
Jackson said she could not comment further.
A notice published in the federal register on Dec. 9 said the Postal Service planned to begin comparing its employee database to the national sex offender database maintained by the Justice Department.
"The Postal Service is undertaking this initiative to ascertain the suitability of individuals for certain positions or employment and to protect the integrity of its brand," the notice said.
It was not known whether the program is under way. The notice said it would become effective no sooner than 30 days after publication.
The notice asserts there will be extensive verification of information and case-by-case basis analysis.
"In this regard, the Postal Service will consider the seriousness of the offense, the date of the offense, the nature of the employee's position with the Postal Service and any other factors that may be relevant to the individual case," it said.
Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.