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WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is giving the Defense Department and the military services until Jan. 21 to review the background checks on all employees who have contact with children in department programs, and to deliver a written report to him.
Panetta's memo comes in the wake of revelations that at least 31 people were suspended from two Army day care centers at Fort Myer, Va., last week after officials scrutinized their backgrounds and found a range of criminal convictions.
The background checks were triggered by the arrests of two day care workers in September on multiple counts of assault on children at a center.
The memo issued Thursday says all segments of the department must ensure that background check procedures are being followed and that each document meets Pentagon requirements.