A Davenport man who became the first person to be civilly committed under Iowa’s sexually violent predator law will appear today in Scott County District Court for an annual hearing to determine if he is to be set free or continue to be deemed a danger to the public.
Elroy Morrow was convicted in 1993 of sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy in Davenport and served five years at the Iowa Men’s Reformatory in Anamosa.
In that case, police found Morrow and the boy sleeping in an abandoned house at 916 W. 5th St. about 3 a.m. on Saturday, September 19, 1992.
He had a similar conviction in Rock Island County in 1990 when he pleaded guilty to a charge of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a child nine years old or younger. According to court documents, the child in that case was seven years old.
Given his history, on April 20, 1999, after he had completed his Iowa prison sentence, Morrow was civilly committed under Iowa’s new sexually violent predator law that took effect July 1, 1998.
Since that time, almost 20 years, Morrow, now 51, has been a resident of Iowa’s Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders at the Cherokee Mental Health Institute in Cherokee. The facility serves sexually violent predators for all of Iowa’s 99 counties.
Morrow also was the first to challenge the state commitment law, but in 2000 the Iowa Supreme Court upheld the law.
According to its website, the civil commitment unit for sexual offenders is operated by the Department of Human Services. It has a 150-bed capacity. The average age of those committed is 50.
Morrow’s hearing is scheduled for 9 a.m.