immediate release --April 20, 1999.
Contact Bob Brammer, 515-281-6699
Orders First Civil Commitment of Offender
Under Sexually Violent Predator Law
State's first trial under the law was conducted today in Scott County.
Court orders Elroy Morrow committed to Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual
Iowa District Court Judge James E. Kelley today ordered Elroy Morrow to
be committed to the Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders, the first
commitment under Iowa's Sexually Violent Predator Law that took effect
Following a trial
before the judge today in Scott County District Court in Davenport, Kelley
ordered Morrow, age 32, committed to the new treatment facility operated
by the State Department of Human Services at the Oakdale Campus near Iowa
According to the new
statute, the State must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that an offender
has previously been convicted of a sexually violent offense and suffers
from a mental abnormality that makes the person likely to engage in predatory
acts constituting sexually violent offenses unless confined in a secure
Most of the trial
conducted today was stipulated, with written evidence entered before the
judge with the agreement of both Morrow and the prosecutor, Assistant
Attorney General Scott Brown. Affidavits of witnesses and the report of
a psychological evaluation conducted by Dr. Dennis Doren, a psychologist
who is an expert in the evaluation of sexually violent predators, were
admitted into evidence. (The affidavits and report were ordered sealed
by the Court.)
Morrow also admitted
in court through counsel that he meets the criteria of a sexually violent
predator as defined under Iowa law.
The State also entered
evidence that Morrow was convicted January 6, 1993, in Scott County of
Third Degree Sexual Abuse, and convicted February 9, 1990, in Rock Island
County, Illinois, of Aggravated Sexual Abuse. Court documents filed previously
in the case indicated that the victims were age 13 and age 7, respectively.
In his order Kelley
wrote: "The Court therefore finds beyond a reasonable doubt that
the respondent's pedophilia and antisocial personality disorder make him
reasonably likely to engage in predatory acts constituting sexually violent
offenses if not confined and treated in a secure facility."
Morrow had been scheduled
to discharge his sentence last August. His was the first case in which
the Attorney General's Office filed a petition asking the court to determine
an offender is a sexually violent predator and order civil commitment
under the new law.
Judge Kelley today
assigned Morrow to the newly-established Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual
Offenders at the Oakdale Campus near Iowa City, a special treatment unit
run by the Iowa Department of Human Services. Persons committed to the
unit must be segregated from other patients, must receive treatment, and
must receive annual evaluations and review by the court to determine whether
their mental abnormalities have changed enough that the offender is safe
to be at large.
to the unit will be treated to the maximum extent possible as patients
and not prisoners. They will receive comprehensive treatment including
classes and groups, and group and activity therapy.
Attorney General Tom
Miller said: "This case marks full implementation of the sexual offender
commitment law, and that means we have one more tool to protect citizens
from sexual offenders. Iowa also now has enhanced sentencing, public notification
upon the release of some offenders, supervised release for some offenders,
hormone therapy intervention, and stepped up treatment for first-time
offenders. This full spectrum of programs is the best way to protect all
Iowans from various kinds of sexual offenders."
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