A first: visiting judge in Texas frees violent sex offender

File Image (AP Photo/Seth Perlman)

HOUSTON (AP) — A visiting judge in Conroe has ordered, for the first time, the full release of a violent sex offender from the Texas civil commitment program.

District Judge P.K. Reiter on Monday ordered 56-year-old Alonzo May released from a West Texas facility where about 190 violent sex offenders are currently housed.

Reiter ruled that keeping May in the program would be unconstitutional. The state plans an appeal.

Reforms to the civil commitment statute by lawmakers this year ended the previous treatment program, which was to operate on an outpatient model. That’s the model under which May was committed.

The West Texas facility, a former prison, now has the men participating in in-patient programs.

State officials said that May will return to Grand Prairie.

One person has been released provisionally from the program since it was created 16 years ago. Another left Texas after his civil commitment was overturned by an appeals court.

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