Department of Corrections Still Searching for Sex Offender, Abuse Victim Advocates Worried

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Iowa Department of Corrections continues to search for a sex offender who failed to return to a work release facility.

Last Friday, Ross Clouse left the Fort Des Moines Work Release Facility for his job in Guthrie County and wasn’t heard from again.

In 2009, the now 26–year–old was sentenced to 10 years in prison for sex abuse and indecent contact with child. He was released from prison after less than five years, but due to the severity of the  charge, Clouse is required to have mandatory supervision for the rest of his life.

Department of Corrections Assistant Director, Fred Scaletta, says when someone leaves the facility; there is always a plan in place.

Residents are allowed to find their own ride to work and are required to tell the facility -- where their job is, how long it will take to get there, and when they are expected to return.

Clouse was ordered to wear a GPS monitoring device but Scaletta says he cut the strap when he made his escape. Officials are not disclosing what town in Guthrie County the man was working in, but documents show Guthrie County as the location where he committed his previous crimes.

Local abuse victim advocates worry Clouse’s potential whereabouts are within reach of his victims.

“His choice is to remain gone and his victims and other people who have been sexually assaulted, not by him but just in general; they fear their offender will come back or knows where they live,” says Lisa Heldenbrand, a supervisor at Polk County Crisis and Advocacy Services.

The Department of Correction stands by their monitoring practices.

“You just never know, we can`t predict that they are not going to return and we can’t predict whether the public is going to be at risk or not.”

Once found, authorities say Clouse will likely be sent back to prison.

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