A judge will rule at a later date on whether Elroy Morrow, a Davenport man who was civilly committed under Iowa’s sexually violent predator law is suitable for placement in a transitional release program or discharged.
Judge Nancy Tabor said she would take the matter under advisement after hearing testimony from two psychologists, as well as from Morrow himself, during a one day bench trial in Scott County.
The 51-year-old 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.
Morrow has been a resident of Iowa’s Civil Commitment Unit for Sexual Offenders at the Cherokee Mental Health Institute in Cherokee.
Under Iowa Code, a committed offender is suitable for placement in the transitional release program if the judge finds that 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 detailed relapse prevention plan also must be developed and accepted by the treatment provider that is appropriate for the offender’s mental abnormality and sex offending history.
During his initial commitment, Morrow was diagnosed with pedophilia, anti-social personality disorder and substance abuse.
Clinical psychologist Stacey Hoem testified Friday that she interviewed Morrow in June and opined that while he is making some progress with his treatment, he does not meet the 10 necessary criteria for transitional release or discharge.
She said he has a high level of “sexual preoccupation” and is still sexually aroused by children and has not developed enough interventions to deal with it.
Although he does not have access to children, he is still struggling with an arousal by other patients and other staff, Hoem said.
She said that Morrow is on the right path and has been more engaged in his treatment over the last two years and could one day be ready for transitional release or discharge.
On the witness stand, Morrow admitted that he had been sexually abused as a child and that he has had numerous victims. Through treatment, he has learned to be more empathetic to his victims, he said.
Morrow also said that he has been taking medication over the last few months to help not think about sex as much.
Clinical and forensic psychologist Richard Wollert, who testified Friday via telephone for the defense, recommended that Morrow is suitable for discharge or transitional release and said that Morrow does not show symptoms of pedophilia and anti-social personality disorder at this point and is a low risk for reoffending if released back into the community.
Wollert further said that the prevention plan that Morrow submitted, which was rejected by the treatment provider, was “quite adequate” and fair and reasonable.