A judge had denied a request for release for a Davenport man who was civilly committed under Iowa’s sexually violent predator law 19 years ago.
District Court Judge Nancy Tabor further said in a written ruling filed Tuesday that Elroy Morrow’s mental abnormality “remains such that he is likely to engage in predatory acts that constitute sexually violent offenses if discharged” and he is not suitable for placement in a transitional release program at this time.
The judge ordered Morrow, 51, to remain at the Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders at the Cherokee Mental Health Institute in Cherokee until further review and order of the court.
He 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 Sept. 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.
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. He was the first person to be committed under the law.
Under Iowa Code, a committed offender is suitable for placement in the transitional release program if the judge finds several factors apply, such as whether the offender's mental abnormality is no longer such that they are a high risk to re-offend and the offender has accepted responsibility for responsibility for past behavior and understands the impact sexually violent crimes have upon a victim.
The offender also must complete detailed relapse plan that is approved by his treatment provider.
During his initial commitment, Morrow was diagnosed with pedophilia, anti-social personality disorder and substance abuse.
During a one-day bench trial on Jan. 4 in Scott County, a clinical psychologist called by Assistant Attorney General Keisha Cretsinger testified Morrow did not meet the criteria.
The psychologist testified Morrow had made some strides in his treatment, but is still learning to manage his sexual thoughts. The psychologist expressed concern that sexual stimuli controlled in his current environment is readily available in the community by the presence of children in public areas, internet accessibility, pictures, pornography and other stimuli unique him.
A clinical psychologist called by defense attorney Tom Gaul testified Morrow was suitable for discharge because he believed that his mental abnormalities were no longer present.
He also testified the prevention plan Morrow submitted, which was rejected by the treatment provider, was "quite adequate" and fair and reasonable.