Felon: Cowley Mental Health knew of my past

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By Shane Farley
July 25, 2011 - 11:14:16 am

For nine months, up until two weeks ago, Ted Riley Floyd worked as a caseworker for Cowley County Mental Health and Counseling Center, even though as a convicted felon under post-release supervision that should not have been allowed.

But Floyd, 32, said his former employer conducted proper pre-employment background checks prior to his hiring. Criticism of the Strother Field-based mental health organization, he said, is unwarranted.

“I was not dishonest with them at all,” Floyd said Saturday. And “they did do what they’re supposed to.”

Linda Young, executive director for the mental health organization, declined an opportunity to comment on the matter when contacted by a reporter. An attorney for the organization confirmed Theodore Riley Floyd was employed by Cowley County Mental Health from March 24, 2010 to July 15 of this year.

Floyd, who goes by the name Riley Floyd, contacted NewsCow after reading that his employment at Cowley County Mental Health was being discussed during Friday’s Live Blog.

In 2008, he made headlines when it was discovered he had lived for several years under an assumed name in a Jewish community in Lakewood, NJ. Federal authorities said in 2002 he submitted a passport application in Wichita using the name and Social Security number of Nathaniel James Levi, a deceased veteran of the U.S. Navy.

Floyd assumed that identity and lived in New Jersey for years before being returned to Kansas for prosecution once his true identity was discovered.

He eventually pleaded guilty to one count of putting false information on a U.S. Passport application. After spending a year in a federal prison in Texas he was paroled but remains on probation through Feb. 2012.

Now he lives just outside Winfield.

Floyd said his main motivation for talking now is to dispel rumors that have circulated since he was dismissed from his job the morning of July 13.

During an extensive interview, he emphasized several times that Cowley County Mental Health did nothing wrong and that he never made an attempt to conceal his identity. Floyd said he was never trying to dupe anyone.

As he tells it, he was looking for work last summer when took an entry-level paperwork job with Cowley County Mental Health. Within months, by Oct. 2010, he was promoted to the position of targeted case manager and was working with clients.

Problems arose recently when paperwork regarding his post-release supervision was sent to Cowley County Mental Health.

The morning he left, Floyd said, mental health officials explained that because he was on post-release supervision, state guidelines prohibited him from working in a direct-care position.

At that point, he was out of a job.

Floyd never informed his employer he was on probation/supervision, because, he said, the application did not ask about that specifically. Floyd said he provided information about his felony conviction and even informed organization officials that it might not show up on standard background evaluations.

The human resources administrator who handled the paperwork associated with his hiring has since left the organization. Floyd is not sure what the current human resources official knew of his past.

Floyd - who said he can’t discuss specifics about his 2008 conviction - said he expects to remain living in this area. He makes money as a graphic designer and intends to do more of that now that he is unemployed.

His focus is rebuilding his life after an “idiotic mistake” in college that led to his conviction. Floyd thinks his case received so much attention because of the post-911 climate in the country and given that it involved the Jewish community.

He said his split with Cowley County Mental Health was as amicable as could be expected, given the circumstances.

Workers there have described Floyd as a hard worker who was good at the job. He said he loved the work and may go to work in the private sector of the mental health field where requirements are less stringent.

Cowley County Mental Health is a non-profit organization that operates on an approximately $5 million budget. The county provides $100,000 annually and state funding is around $260,000, according to county records.

The county appoints members to the organization’s advisory board, county officials said.

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