On October 5, 1997, Dezeray Marie Roblero-Barrios (real name Wesley Ross Mullins) attempted to sexually assault a six-year-old boy in a K-Mart restroom. On February 9, 1998, Barrios pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and attempted second-degree criminal sexual conduct in relation to this incident. He was sentenced to serve a total of 36 months imprisonment.
Barrios was released from prison on October 4, 2000, and was transferred directly to the custody of the Minnesota Sex Offender Program (MSOP) pending the outcome of a petition to commit him as a sexual psychopathic personality (SPP) and as a sexually dangerous person (SDP). In June 2001, the district court committed Barrios indeterminately as a sexually dangerous person. In July 2001, Barrios was sent back to prison for violating his parole by assaulting a staff member at MSOP. He returned to MSOP on April 19, 2005. During his commitment, Barrios legally changed his name from Wesley Ross Mullins to Dezeray Marie Roblero-Barrios because he says he feels like a woman trapped in a man’s body.
Besides the assault at K-Mart, Barrios has admitted to sexually assaulting four other children. At age 13, he sexually molested a five-year-old relative. At age 14 or 15, he sexually assaulted an 11-or 12-year-old girl who he was babysitting. At age 15, he had anal intercourse with an eight-year-old boy. At the time, Barrios was the boy’s Sunday-school teacher, and he repeatedly molested the boy during a two-year period. At age 22, he sexually assaulted a 15-year-old girl several times after having consensual sex with her once. Before entering prison, he began a sexual “relationship” with a 14-year old boy and maintained this relationship while in prison. Barrios has recanted many of these stories but has consistently maintained a lack of remorse for his offenses. For instance, he has claimed that the five-year-old initiated the abuse by touching his penis, and that his abuse of the 14-year-old was not a sexual offense because it was a “love relationship.”
On July 25, 2007, a special review board heard Barrios’s petition for full or provisional discharge from civil commitment. Dr. Elizabeth J. Barbo, Ph.D., L.P., Director of Psychology at MSOP, prepared an evaluation for the board’s consideration. The State Operated Forensic Services also prepared a “Risk Appraisal” for the board’s review. The appraisal placed Barrios in the group with the highest rate of sexually violent recidivism, and indicated that he had a higher-than-average risk for violent recidivism. The review board found that Barrios was not participating in treatment because he could not control his behavior and was often placed in isolation as a consequence. At the time of this hearing, Barrios had pending felony assault charges. Following the recommendation of the review board, the commissioner denied Barrios’s petition for provisional discharge, and Barrios appealed.
On March 21, 2008, a judicial appeal panel heard Barrios’s appeal. Barrios testified that he was seeking provisional discharge, that he had not completed sex-offender treatment, and that he would like to seek treatment at Alpha House or the Pride Institute if he were provisionally discharged. He expressed concern that he would not be able to receive therapy for his gender identity issues if he remained at MSOP. He also testified that he pleaded guilty in August of 2007 to a felony assault, that none of the programs in his discharge plan had actually accepted him, and that he did not have the assistance or approval of his case manager or MSOP staff members in creating the plan.
The appeal panel concluded that Barrios had not established a prima facie case that he was capable of making an acceptable adjustment to open society, finding he continued to need treatment in the MSOP setting, and that his provisional discharge plan did not adequately protect the public. Therefore, it granted the state’s motion to dismiss and affirmed the commissioner’s order denying Barrios’s release. Barrios appealed to this court.
The panel also considered 18 exhibits, none of which recommended that Barrios be released, and most of which characterized him as impulsive, violent, unresponsive to treatment, and lacking remorse or insight into his behavior. A forensic psychiatrist, Dr. Robin R. Ballina, M.D., J.D., prepared a “Risk Appraisal” for Barrios in June of 2007. In the appraisal, she described Barrios’s lack of remorse and his “generally nonparticipatory” and “disruptive” behaviors in his groups. A summary of Barrios’s history in the prison system lists about 40 behavioral incidents between 1999 and 2005, and ten such incidents at MSOP from 2000 to 2001 and 2005 to 2006. Nearly all of these incidents involved threatening or assaultive behavior, and some involved sexually inappropriate behavior. Barrios has had 11 more documented rule violations since January 2007, including the fourth-degree assault charge and exposing his genitalia to staff members at MSOP. Dr. Barbo’s report concluded that “[i]t is the opinion of his treatment team and this examiner that [Barrios] continues to require the highly structured and supervised setting of an inpatient placement . . . Mr. Roblero-Barrios’s petition for a provisional discharge . . . is currently without the support of the MSOP treatment team.”
Based on the testimony and exhibits introduced, the appeal panel made the following findings: “To date, no programs have indicated a willingness to accept him and acceptance is unlikely until it is recommended by the MSOP treatment team”; “[h]is treatment team did not assist with creation of the discharge plan and they do not support it at this time”; he “needs to complete chemical dependency treatment”; “MSOP does not offer treatment for Gender Identity issues and Mr. Roblero-Barrios will have to defer that until he is released to the community”; “[a]s an untreated sex offender, [he] presents a high risk to reoffend”; and Barrios “has an extensive history of assaultive, disruptive behaviors, attempted assaults, sexually inappropriate conduct, and threats while hospitalized in the MSOP.”
All of the appeal panel’s conclusions are supported by Barrios’s own testimony: he has not finished any treatment for his pedophilia and chemical dependency, he continues to engage in assaultive behavior, no program has accepted him, and no program is likely to accept him because his treatment team does not believe he is ready to be discharged. Barrios failed to provide the panel with any explanation for why he is no longer dangerous to others or in need of in-patient treatment. Rather, he merely expressed his desire to attend different programs. All of the testimony and exhibits led the panel to properly conclude that Barrios failed to make a showing that he was ready to be provisionally discharged.