Victims of Dangerous House Calls: Terena Ferminick
In 1996 Terena Fermenick, 24 year old wife of Pastor Don Fermenick, had gone to their church in Alameda to let in a carpet cleaner, leaving the couple’s baby daughter in the car seat outside. The man from the carpet cleaning company that was found in the telephone book, Giles Albert Nadey Jr., sexually assaulted her and stabbed her to death. Mr. Fermenick found his wife crumpled on the rectory floor.
“It turned out he was a convicted felon,” said Fermenick, then 27. He had two previous felony convictions. He had even acknowledged his criminal past on his job application and was still hired.
“We’ve had an increase in the number of negligent hiring suits in all states in the last couple of years,” said Wendy Bliss, a Colorado Springs lawyer affiliated with with the Society of Human Relations Consultants. “You have cases of people coming into homes, committing robberies or physical assaults. We see a lot of that.”
Don Fermenick, the former Alameda pastor, and his daughter sued Skyline Chem-Dry, alleging that it failed to reasonably check the background of carpet cleaner Nadey, the convicted felon. The suit also named the company that owns Chem-Dry and Labor Connection of Hayward, which initially referred Nadey to Chem-Dry. The firms denied liability but settled the case for about $1.2 million. “The number sounds big, but it’s nothing compared to what you lose,” said Fermenick. “As far as I’m concerned, those companies killed my wife.”
“We just take it for granted that these people have been checked out,” added Fermenick, who now runs a coffee shop near Vancouver, Wash.
“Obviously, nobody’s a winner. Everybody’s a loser in a situation like this,” said Don Fermenick, who has remarried and moved to Washington state. “It’s still tragic.”
“She was warm and caring and quiet,” Don Fermenick said of his wife. “People would do things with us not because of me – they would put up with me – but because of her. She always had faith in those she loved.”
Above image via.
If you are conducting business outside of your home with service companies or even complete strangers (Craigslist), it is even more crucial that you always bring another adult with you. This may seem like common sense, but this young woman didn’t think the worst would happen. She thought she’d simply let the carpet cleaner inside, pay him, and then get back in her car with her baby.
We’ve said this before, but we’ll say it again. Trust is something to be earned, not freely given. Please don’t assume the best in everyone when it comes to situations like this.
Previous Posts in this series:
Post: + Intro
Post: Ask a friend over for coffee
Post: Trust is earned
Post: Protect yourself in the workplace
Post: Beware of referral services
Post: Violent crimes can happen in any type of neighborhood