St. Louis - A trial started here Tuesday in U.S. District Court that will determine if the treatment of a controversial Missouri Department of Mental Health program for sexually violent predators is constitutional.

Seeds for the case were planted in 2009, when a handful of men -- civilly committed against their will to the maximum security Sex Offender Rehabilitation and Treatment Services, or SORTS, facility in Farmington -- wrote out legal claims by hand. They were being billed by the state for care and treatment that they didn't want to be a part of at SORTS.

St. Louis Today