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August 20, 1998

Statement on First Filing by the State Under New Sexually Violent Predator Law

The Iowa Attorney General's Office today filed a petition in Scott County District Court asking the court to order the civil commitment of Elroy Morrow under Iowa's new law providing for civil commitment of certain sexually violent offenders upon completion of their criminal sentence and their release from confinement. This case is the first filing using the new law, which took effect July 1.

According to the 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 him likely to engage in predatory acts constituting sexually violent offenses unless confined in a secure facility.

Morrow has been an inmate at the Men's Reformatory at Anamosa since 1993. According to the petition, he was arrested and charged with aggravated criminal sexual assault in Rock Island, Illinois in 1986 but he was found incompetent to stand trial and charges were dismissed. In 1989 he was convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Rock Island, Illinois. In 1993 he was convicted of sexual abuse in the third degree in Scott County and has been serving his sentence at the Men's Reformatory at Anamosa since that time. All victims of these offenses were children between the ages of 5 and 13.

Morrow is scheduled to be transported to the Scott County Jail from the Men's Reformatory at Anamosa on August 24, his release date. A probable cause hearing will be held within 72 hours, as required by law. A trial is to be conducted within sixty days.

If he is committed after the civil court proceeding, which may include a jury trial, Morrow would likely be assigned to a special treatment unit at the Oakdale Medical and Classification Center near Iowa City. The treatment program is run by the Department of Human Services. Annual reviews of the commitment are required by the Iowa law.

To be eligible for the sexually violent predator program, offenders must first be screened and referred by a Multi-Disciplinary Committee in the Department of Corrections and recommended to the Attorney General's Office for commitment by a Prosecutors Review Committee.

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