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Beckley man arrested again after probation officers charged with keeping tabs on sex offenders lose jobs

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RALEIGH COUNTY, W.Va. (WVVA) After dozens of probation officers charged with keeping tabs on W.Va. sex offenders lost their jobs last month, WVVA News has learned that the Beckley man arrested last week for attempting to met a 13-year-old for sex was one of the sex offenders previously under their supervision.

Earlier this week, Raleigh County Sheriff's deputies said James Fruia, 27, had used an electronic device to contact the child and was taken into custody when he showed up to 'meet the 13-year-old female.' 

At that time, Fruia was taken to Southern Regional Jail and has since posted bond. 

According to law enforcement outside the Raleigh County Sheriff's Dept., Fruia was a registered sex offender under supervision by the West Virginia Intensive Supervision Office (ISO) for Sex Offenders. 

The program was started by Chief Justice Robin Jean Davis as part of the Child Protection Act of 2006, but eliminated by an order signed on June 26, by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Justice Allen Loughry.

Court documents show Fruia was arrested in July of 2012 for a case where he was charged with Attempt to Commit Sexual Abuse by a Parent, Guardian, Custodian, or Other Person in Position of Trust to a Child and two counts of Attempting to Commit Sexual Assault in the First Degree. 

As a result, law enforcement sources said Fruia was one of 650 of the 4,413 sex offenders previously under intense supervision by that office. Since the ISO office was eliminated, the responsibility had been transferred to local probation offices in each county's jurisdiction. 

To learn more about the ISO office and the West Virginia Supreme Court's decision, see prior stories below...
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JULY 26, 2017  (WVVA) Thirty-nine people responsible for keeping tabs on the more than 650 sex offenders living in West Virginia will soon be out of a job, according an order signed on June 26, by the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals Chief Justice Allen Loughry.

The order effectively eliminates the Intensive Supervision Office (ISO) for Sex Offenders started by Chief Justice Robin Jean Davis as part of the Child Protection Act of 2006.

According to the court's website, the program is comprised of 39 men and women whose only duty is to supervise offenders convicted of sex crimes and serious child abuse offenses. "These officers work out of their vehicles, not offices," the website said. 

The website's description of the program continued "in addition to standard work hours, they work holidays, nights, weekends, and hours in between, to make sure offenders are complying with the terms and conditions of their court orders. Extended supervision for these offenders also includes polygraph examinations and electronic monitoring."

Chief Justice Loughry based the decision on a decline in the total number of people supervised by probation officers from 14,000 to 10,000 people following the implementation of several specialized probation programs, including drug court "with officers limited to oversight over those participants no matter how few those participants may be." 

The court also listed the ISO's multi-jurisdictional role as a challenge for current officers. "By virtue of their regional rather than local responsibilities, the ISO officers face geographic and logistical obstacles to providing the fullest and most robust supervision of sex offenders possible."

To accommodate areas with an increased caseload, the order said eight new probation officers will be added that will report directly to probationary office in the circuit in which they serve. They include: 

Fourth Circuit-- One
Fifth Circuit-- One
Eighth Circuit-- One
Twenty-second Circuit-- Two
Twenty-fourth Circuit -- One
Twenty-fifth Circuit-- Two

Currently, there are 288 active probation officers in the state, according to the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals spokesperson. 

When the order takes effect in September, it orders the probation offices of each circuit to supervise the individuals at no less than the same level of supervision:  

"In no instance may any Circuit Court or Probation Office reduce the level of supervision applied to any sex offender except in accord with the attached Levels of Supervision for Sex Offenders." 

According to the West Virginia State Police Registry, there are currently 4,413 sex offenders residing in the state. However, a spokesperson for the West Virginia Supreme Court said the ISO officers are only responsible for monitoring 650 of these individuals.

**** There are six ISU supervision regions in West Virginia covering all fifty-five counties. Each region has a lead officer who acts as the local ISU supervisor for that area. Click here for printer-friendly pdf version of the map. (From the West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals website)

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