Raleigh County sex offender arrested - WVVA TV Bluefield Beckley WV News, Weather and Sports

Raleigh County sex offender arrested

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Tonya Jean Estep Tonya Jean Estep
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BECKLEY (WVVA) - A Raleigh County woman has been arrested for failing to register as a sex offender.

Tonya Jean Estep, 36, of Bradley, was taken into custody on Friday by Cpl. R.A. Daniel of the West Virginia State Police, Beckley detachment.

In 2006, Estep was convicted of 3rd degree sexual assault of a 15-year-old male in Raleigh County.

Police say it was discovered that Estep had maintained multiple social media accounts, which is prohibited.

Following is the full release from the West Virginia State Police:

On Fri., Jan. 11, 2012 at 0900 hr., Cpl RA Daniel, WV State Police, arrested Tonya Jean Estep 36 yoa female from the Bradley area, for 3 counts of Failure to Register Sex Offender. Ms. Estep is a registered sex offender in Raleigh County for a 2006 conviction of 3rd degree sexual assault of a 15 yoa male in Raleigh County. She must register for life due to the victim being a minor.

The arrest is the result of a recent investigation which revealed that Ms. Estep maintained email addresses and passwords to an internet account which she had maintained since March 2012. The information was not registered with the WV State Police Sex Offender Registry as required. Ms. Estep also had a violation for failing to notify of an update to her vehicle information which occurred in Sept. 2012.

Previously in March 2012, it was discovered that Ms. Estep maintained a "Facebook" social media account which is prohibited. Registered sex offenders are prohibited from maintaining accounts to most major social networks like Facebook or Myspace. After being advised by this officer, she deleted said account; however, it was discovered that the same day she re-opened another Facebook account under a false name of "Francheska Tomes" with a different e-mail and password.

Ms. Estep was arraigned before Raleigh County Magistrate Tommie Peck with bond set at $30,000.00. She was unable to post bond and was remanded to the Southern Regional Jail.

Sex offenders are required to register personal information to include internet access and accounts, e-mail addresses, user names and passwords. They are further required to register vehicle information for vehicles either owned, accessed or utilized and must register any changes of said information within ten (10) business days of the change.

A first offense Failure to Register Sex Offender charge carries a possible 1-5 year sentence; while any second or subsequent offense carries a possible 10-25 year sentence.

The public is encouraged to frequently review the list of Registered Sex Offenders via access to the WV State Police website ( www.statepolice.wv.gov  ) and contact their local WV State Police Detachment regarding any possible violations. The public is further encouraged to monitor their children's social network accounts and be aware of unauthorized accounts maintained by suspected sex offenders. They may submit online complaints directly through social networks sites regarding possible sex offenders use which can result in the accounts being terminated or they can contact their local detachment.

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