Wife of sex offender charged with harboringPublished 9:21am Friday, November 30, 2012
The wife of a convicted sex offender was charged Thursday in Freeborn County District Court with reportedly harboring and concealing her husband from authorities.
Veronica Mirela Morrow, 31, was arrested Tuesday night after fleeing Albert Lea in August. She faces one felony count of aiding an offender to avoid arrest.
Her husband, Randy Lee Morrow, a two-time convicted sex offender, was arrested and charged in August with first- and second-degree criminal sexual conduct charges for allegedly molesting a 9-year-old girl. He also faces a predatory offender registration violation for allegedly not registering as an offender since 2008 and for using a false first name of Robert.
As a predatory offender, he is required to register detailed information about himself, including any changes in address, workplace or in physical appearance, among others.
Court documents allege Veronica Morrow attempted to hide both her and her husband’s identities and ownership of property, vehicles and a business in Albert Lea. She reportedly used aliases, including the names of Veronica Moise and Mirela Moise, to purchase property in the city for the couple and their children to live.
According to court records, she purchased a house at 620 Water St. in May of 2005 under the name of Mirela Moise and a house at 621 E. Eighth St. in 2006 under the name of Veronica Moise.
The family was found to be living at the Eighth Street address at the time of Randy Morrow’s arrest, though the house had been transferred by quit claim deed in 2007 to Veronica Morrow’s mother, a resident of Romania.
Neighbors told police the couple had lived at the Water Street house before moving to the Eighth Street location and said they operated an Internet business, according to court records.
In telephone conversations made by Randy Morrow to his wife from the Freeborn County jail between Aug. 17 and 19, he reportedly directed her to remove a computer and other documents from their home and to take their children and flee the city, according to court documents.
Veronica Morrow is believed to have left Albert Lea Aug. 19 or 20 after first going to the Water Street residence and then selling two automobiles.
Her location between that date and her Tuesday arrest is not known.
Freeborn County Attorney Craig Nelson said his office has been contacted by the U.S. Attorney’s Office regarding Randy Morrow, though it is unclear at this point whether any federal charges will be filed.
Court records allege Randy Morrow abused the girl not only in Albert Lea but on trips to Florida and Tennessee, according to court records. Nelson speculated that federal officials may be involved because of the alleged interaction in other states.
Randy Morrow was previously convicted of second-degree criminal sexual conduct in 1991 when he perpetrated a young girl who was a friend of his school-age daughter. He was convicted in 1996 of criminal sexual conduct in the fourth-degree of a 13-year-old boy.
Police did not know he was in Albert Lea because he had not registered himself. They were alerted to him after receiving a report of inappropriate touching at the City Pool.
He is classified as a Level 2 predatory offender.
Randy Morrow’s next court appearance is slated for 8 a.m. Dec. 18. He remains in jail on a $750,000 bail.
Veronica Morrow is next scheduled to appear at 1:30 p.m. Dec. 10 and is being held in the Freeborn County jail on unconditional bail of $200,000.
In Freeborn County court Thursday, Assistant Freeborn County Attorney David Walker said Veronica Morrow has actively avoided law enforcement and appears likely to flee if she is released from jail again.
“This is a case where there is an unusually high flight risk,” he said.
Walker said U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also has a hold on Veronica Morrow because she is reportedly in the country illegally.