A Missouri appeals court Tuesday overturned an order keeping a woman committed indefinitely as a violent sexual predator, ruling there is little evidence proving women convicted of sex crimes are likely to become repeat offenders.
The state pledged to appeal the ruling by the three-judge panel of the Missouri Court of Appeals, which decided that claims that Angela Coffel probably would become a repeat offender were "based on private, subjective and untested theories."
Coffel, 26, is the only woman in Missouri being held indefinitely as a violent sexual predator. She pleaded guilty in 1996 to two sodomy counts involving two brothers, ages 14 and 11.
Coffel served a five-year sentence, but before she could be released from prison the state petitioned the judge to keep her in custody. A judge agreed in 2001 to confine her indefinitely at a state mental health facility.
Coffel will remain at a mental hospital pending appeals, a state Department of Mental Health spokeswoman said.