Judge denies sex offender's appeal challenging his commitment

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A man convicted of multiple instances of sexual assault went to the appeals court, challenging a court ruling that he should be kept in the beleaguered Minnesota Sex Offender Program. But the judge disagreed.

In a 14-page opinion posted Monday, the judge denied Brian Lee Wilbur's arguments that the court made an error when deciding he should be committed to the sex offender program.

Wilbur had challenged his commitment, arguing two things: One, that he doesn't meet the criteria to be committed as a "sexually dangerous person" – and two, that he could take part in a less-restrictive treatment option.

His criminal history, which is noted in the opinion: He'd pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting the 15-year-old sister of his then-wife in 1987, was found guilty of sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl who lived in his apartment complex in 1988, and nine years later was sentenced to 25 years in prison for sexually assaulting a 25-year-old woman while she was in her bedroom. There's also a window-peeping case from 1992.

In 2014, with his sentence nearing its end, two medical examiners concluded Wilbur fit the definition of a sexually dangerous person, and he was committed to the Minnesota Sex Offender Program.

That ruling prompted Wilbur's appeal, and arguments that the court erred.

The judge, however, said the district court did not make an error in either instance – that there's enough evidence Wilbur should be classified as a sexually dangerous person who is likely to re-offend, and that there isn't another less-restrictive treatment option.

Wilbur has appealed at least threeothertimes, with a judge never writing in his favor.

Criticism of the Sex Offender Program

Minnesota's sex offender treatment program was ruled unconstitutional earlier this year, the result of a lawsuit brought against the state by confined offenders – all of whom have completed their prison sentence.

They argued the program locks people up indefinitely with little-to-no chance at getting out. In fact, only three have been provisionally released in the 20 years it has been running. None have been fully released.

As of July 1, the Department of Human Services said there were 720 offenders in the program.

As a result, last month the ruling judge ordered the state to make reforms – or he could intervene. Officials had until Monday, Sept. 21 to file proposed fixes. MinnPost reported another hearing was scheduled for late September.

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