A licensed children's counselor has been convicted of arranging to meet a 13-year-old for sex, according to a court ruling on Monday.
Jason Robert Francisco, 41, was charged with two counts of using electronic communication to solicit sex from a minor. Francisco was arrested on New Year's Eve after he drove down to Christiansburg, Virginia, for what he thought would be a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old girl.
However, he was met by undercover police officers of the Christiansburg Police Department. Francisco had initiated internet chat conversations with an investigator posing as a 13-year-old girl. In the chats, which he started exchanging with the individual in September 2019, he described various sexual acts that he wanted to perform with the "girl" despite knowing her age.
Christiansburg police identified Francisco through a subsequent investigation and arrested him after he arrived at the meeting place that was agreed upon during the online chat, police said.
Licensed Children's Counselor to Sex Offender
At the time of his arrest, Francisco worked as a counselor at Thriveworks, a counseling service with an office in Roanoke. In his staff bio, Francisco stated that he has been working as a licensed counselor in the Roanoke and Lynchburg areas for more than 13 years.
He stated that he has specific experience working in the school system providing therapy to students throughout the school day. He also stated that he has experience working with children and their families in the home environment.
Francisco will now have to register as a sex offender, undergo a psycho-sexual evaluation, and may use the Internet only for work purposes. Additionally, Francisco is barred from unsupervised contact with minors and is barred from having social media accounts, the judge said.
Sentenced to 3 Years 6 Months in Prison
The counselor was convicted after entering a no-contest plea and was sentenced to serve a five-year prison term on each charge by Judge Robert Turk of the Montgomery County Circuit Court. However, Turk said Francisco's prison sentence would be suspended after serving 3.5 years and he will be supervised by a probation officer for 10 years after his release.