The collective thoughts of Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) are governed by Alcoholics Anonymous World Services, Inc (AAWS), the General Servile Board of Alcoholics Anonymous, Inc (GSB/GSO) and the Grapevine, Inc (GV). All three corporations publish "suggestions" in various forms, culminating with the 12 Step which is "Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs." In a nutshell, the 11 Steps before the 12th are training for position of "Sponsor" in Alcoholics Anonymous and no groups are legally left out.
There are no checks and balances in the 11 Steps before the 12th Step and anyone in AA can be a Sponsor. While it is true that it is "suggested" that Sponsors have at least 1 year sobriety prior to attempting this position, that is not a rule, law or directive and it is often ignored. There are no checks and balances in this one year sobriety, except the Sponsor to be and his word that it is true and many AA members start Sponsor relationships way before the 1 year mark. Another often broken "suggestion" is that the Sponsor/Sponcee relationship should be of the same sex which is also broken at will.
The criminal background of a Sponsor is not taken into account in any of the literature of AA and no minimum or maximum guidelines exist. Because there are no enforceable guidelines in AA, a murder, rapist, pedophile, career criminal or local thug can become a sponsor. Often times these people even attain very high spokesmen positions at the Sponsorship, Intergroup and conference levels inside AA.
The most notorious example of a convicted criminal rising to the elite positions in AA is that of Clancy I of the Pacific Group in California. Not only has this person had multiple arrests(updated from original), but he has attained the power to run the Pacific Group and its associated Sponsorship group. The worst example of this arrangement was the "Midtown Group" of Mike Q in Washington DC who was the Sponcee of Clancy I and managed the infamous position of managing the 13 Stepping, opposite sex Sponsor/Sponcee relationships and a general misuse of the power given him through his association with Clancy. The people who associate and admire Clancy I, often have the same attributes of these destructive practices in AA and should be used as a warning to those that associate with him.
"You're judged by the company you keep" - John F Kennedy