A Frazee man now in prison for sex crimes against children is due to be released later this month, but if state and local authorities have their way, he will instead be committed to a state hospital for sexual offenders.

John Curtis Barnes, 29, is scheduled for release from the state prison at Rush City on Oct. 22.

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He was convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct in 2000 for assaulting a preteen boy, and 46 children of all ages and both genders are listed as "possible victims" of his sexual assaults in court papers seeking a civil commitment to St. Peter.

The ages and genders of the children are listed in the court papers. Barnes named them during sexual offender treatment in 2005. At one point he claimed 300 victims, going back to when he started offending at age 10.

He later recanted some offenses, saying they were fantasies. However, he "continues to admit to numerous uncharged victims," in addition to at least two charged victims, according to court records.

He said he prefers having sex with children because they don't say 'no' at first as often as adults do.

He claims to have sexually assaulted every child he ever babysat, as well as numerous others, whenever the opportunity arose.

Born in Kentucky, he was sexually assaulted himself starting at age 7, was beaten by a stepfather, who tried to drown him, and suffers from mild mental retardation, drug and alcohol abuse, poor personal hygiene and social isolation. He has never held a job longer than two weeks, according to court records.

The Becker County Attorney's Office and the Minnesota Attorney General's Office have filed a petition in district court seeking to have him held at St. Peter for care, observation and evaluation, until the court can rule on the state's request that he be indefinitely committed as a sexually dangerous person with a sexual psychopathic personality.

Last week, District Judge Lisa Borgen ordered him transported to Becker County for a petition hearing set for 10:15 a.m. Monday. The state has asked that his appearance at the hearing be waived, but as of Tuesday the hearing was still on the court calendar.

At one point, Barnes said he would not mind remaining in prison, and that there is nothing for him in the outside world. It's not known if he plans to contest the civil commitment petition.

The Minnesota Security Hospital in St. Peter had about 180 patients in its sex offender program last year.

These individuals have completed their prison time but remain locked up under civil commitments in order to receive treatment.