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Because a convicted child predator was deemed to no longer be a threat to society, he is allowed to keep the barber’s license he earned in prison, an appeals court has ruled.

The Commonwealth Court reversed the state Bureau of Professional and Occupational Affairs, and the state Board of Barber Examiners’ decision to revoke David King’s license.

King, who received his license to cut hair in 2008 while serving a five-to-10-year prison sentence for having sex with a child under 13, is currently an instructor at a barber school for adult students.

King was released on parole in 2012, under the conditions that he remain gainfully employed. The conditions also banned him from being unsupervised around girls under the age of 18, and required that King undergo sex offender evaluation and any recommended treatment, including pharmacological intervention and periodic polygraph testing. Additional conditions required that King have limited internet connection to prevent access to child pornography, and that he undergo psychiatric treatment.

A hearing examiner reported that since his release from prison, King has been a model citizen and has reformed. The board, however, decided that he had not shown he was no longer a threat to society, and revoked his license.

However, Commonwealth Court Judge Michael Wojcik wrote in the court en banc’s unanimous opinion that the board’s concerns were not based on solid evidence. Foremost, Wojcik said King has limited contact with children.

“While public safety is of considerable importance, the board’s decision rests largely on speculative concerns,” Wojcik said. “In sharp contrast to the definition that triggers employment-related protections for children under the [Child Protective Services Law], i.e., regular and repeated contact with children, the board based its decision to revoke King’s barber licenses on mere supposition that King could potentially be an instructor to female students under the age of 18 or have contact with minor clients.”

Wojcik continued, “Moreover, the speculative concerns invoked by the board ‘arise[] from the fact that a barbershop is a commercial establishment, not from the nature of barbering as a licensed profession, and would be equally present in other commercial establishments, such as corner grocery or convenience stores, that are not subject to professional licensure requirements.’”

King’s attorney, Douglas Marsico of Caldwell & Kearns in Harrisburg, said, “Mr. King was shown not to be a threat to society. He is under the supervision of the state and his position in no way allows him to be alone with children.”

The board’s attorney, Dana Wucinski of the Pennsylvania Department of State, did not respond to a call seeking comment.