Testimony for "Nan's Law", Requiring Hoteliers to
Conduct Criminal Background Checks on
Employees with Access to Guest Rooms
|HARRISBURG, Pa., Jan. 20, 2004 - A grass roots effort spearheaded by
the parents of a young woman murdered in her Chicago hotel room six years
ago reaches a milestone Wednesday as Pennsylvania State Legislature will
be the first in the country to hear testimony for "Nan's Law," requiring
hoteliers to conduct criminal background checks on employees with access
to guest rooms.
But the victory is bittersweet for Sol and Lin Toder of suburban Pittsburgh, whose 33-year-old daughter, Nan, was bludgeoned to death in a suburban Chicago hotel while on a business trip. The crime and its aftermath: the revelation that the murderer was the hotel's maintenance manager with an extensive criminal history of violent behavior, has spurred legislation (HB1350) in Pennsylvania with other states possibly waiting in the wings.
Among the key speakers lobbying in Harrisburg will be Jason Morris, President of Cleveland-based Background Information Services, Inc., one of the country's leading providers of pre-employment screening and background checks, Representative Thomas Stevenson (R-Mt. Lebanon), the bill's sponsor and Sol Toder.
"The murder of this young woman may have been easily prevented with a simple and inexpensive background check that would have uncovered her murderer's criminal past," said Morris.
"The corporate-owned hotel chains have been performing background checks for years, but it is the individual, franchised-owned hotels that are most in question. The procedural aspects of conducting background checks are straightforward and the expense is minimal when compared to potential injury or litigation."
A part-time aerobics instructor, Nan Toder had gone to the gym for an evening work out after a full day of job training on Dec. 12, 1996. She returned to her Hampton Inn room in Crestwood, IL, a Chicago suburb, and arranged a wake-up call for 5 a.m. A few hours later, hotel maintenance manager Christopher Richee gained entrance into her room by earlier rigging the lock on a connecting door to the room adjoining Toder's. Richee bound his victim's feet and hands with telephone cord, cut her with a machete, choked her with his hands and strangled her with her pantyhose.
"When we learned that this beast had a lengthy past record of criminal activity, we had to do something," said Sol Toder. "These hotels have soaps and shampoos carrying their name to ensure brand recognition, but they don't take care of keeping their guests safe. That has got to change."
Richee went on trial for Nan Toder's murder in 2002 whereupon a jury convicted him of the crime in November of the same year. Now 35, he is serving life without possibility of parole.
"This legislation will help ensure travelers' safety in Pennsylvania," said Stevenson. "Hopefully, no other families will have to experience the horror and frustration that this tragedy has brought the Toders."
For more information on Nan's Law, visit http://www.nanslaw.org .
Lin and Sol Toder
808 Hillaire Drive
Pittsburgh, PA 15243
|Also See:||Owners of Hampton Inn Settle Lawsuit by Parents of Slain Guest for $4.6 million; Hotel's Maintenance Manager Convicted of Murder / April 2003|