ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — A judicial panel has granted a 47-year-old man conditional release from the Minnesota Sex Offender Program, despite objections from medical experts and program officials.

Local reports say the panel approved Christopher Coker’s release last week. He would live in a halfway house under heavy surveillance.

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Coker was convicted of raping three teenage girls in the early 1990s, and in 1994 twice escaped from a halfway house while under supervised release. He was civilly committed in 2000.

Three program administrators didn’t back Coker’s release. Two independent psychologists testified that they opposed the move after evaluating him.

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The Minnesota Department of Human Services and Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman say they will appeal the ruling.

Federal courts have ruled Minnesota’s treatment program unconstitutional, in part because so few patients have been allowed to re-enter the community.

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