ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota Appeals Court  on Monday ordered a sex offender to remain in a treatment program.

About the time that order was posted, a federal judge elsewhere in St. Paul was hearing that he may be asked to free some sex offenders in the same program.

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Dezeray Marie Roblero-Barrios is not ready to be released, Appeals Judge John P. Smith wrote for the three-judge appeals court.

Roblero-Barrios claimed she has progressed enough in the state Human Services Department's sexual offender treatment program to be released. But Smith agreed with an earlier appeals panel decision that she should remain in treatment.

Smith referred to Roblero-Barrios as a woman, but earlier court documents called the same person a man when he was known as Wesley Ross Mullins.

After being convicted in the late 1990s for molesting a 6-year-old boy in a retail store restroom, she was committed to the state sex offender treatment program in 2001.

Smith wrote that a review board "found that Roblero-Barrios’s treatment history has been 'inconsistent and marred' by her behavior, which has included 'inappropriate sexual boundaries with peers, difficulty managing emotions, motivational problems, rule violations, aggressive-violent behavior and sexual acting out.'"

An earlier court ruling also showed that she needed "chemical-dependency, gender-identification and sex-offender treatment."

Since being in treatment, Roblero-Barrios has been sent back to prison four times for assaults and not complying with treatment, Smith said, which has slowed her treatment. A doctor reported that "there really hasn't been any significant change from (her) initial commitment."

After a sex offender serves their prison term, Minnesota gives county attorneys the option of seeking a court order to commit them indefinitely to a prison-like treatment system from which just one person has graduated.

A federal judge has told the state that the program is too much like a prison, but with no way out.

The judge, who could take over the state program if Minnesota officials do not make changes, is hearing arguments from two patients that they should be released.

On Monday, the judge heard that a panel he appointed has recommended releasing a 24-year-old man who was committed to the sex offender program in 2009 for sexual offenses he committed when he was 10 and 14 years old.

Also being considered for release is a woman, usually called the only woman of nearly 700 in the sex offenders treatment program. The St. Paul Pioneer Press reports she has spent 20 of her 49 years in the program.

Neither patient being considered for release would go totally free. Either would be placed in a community-based treatment facility and state officials would watch for progress or problems.

A member of the panel the federal judge appointed to look into the treatment program on Monday said the panel likely will recommend that more patients be released from the confined program. Those recommendations could come later this summer.