Police: Fifth-grade South Colonie teacher arrested, placed camera in staff bathroom

Patrick F. Morgan - Credit: Colonie Police Department

Patrick F. Morgan - Credit: Colonie Police Department

COLONIE – A fifth-grade teacher in South Colonie schools has been arrested, accused of placing a camera in a staff bathroom to record fellow staff members, police said Monday.

There was no indication Monday that any videos were taken of students, police said.

Arrested was Patrick F. Morgan, 57, of Frankfort, Herkimer County. He was charged with two counts of second-degree unlawful surveillance, felonies, and more charges are likely to follow, police said.

The investigation began Friday when police were notified by Sand Creek Middle School administration that a suspicious device had been located by a faculty member in a co-ed employee bathroom, police said.

The device was then turned over to police and, after an investigation, they determined the device was a functioning covert camera, which was disguised as a cell phone charger, police said.

The camera contained videos and images of multiple faculty members, both male and female, in various states of undress, police said.

Based on the footage and other evidence, police identified Morgan as the person who placed the camera. Morgan has been a teacher at South Colonie schools for 28 years and currently taught fifth grade, police said.

Police located Morgan on Monday morning and took him into custody and charged him.

Morgan was placed on administrative leave and is not working on school grounds, the district said in its own statement.

Multiple faculty members have been identified as victims of the unlawful surveillance and, out of an abundance of caution, the district canceled classes at Sand Creek on Monday to properly address the issue with faculty members, police said.

Counselors and victim advocates from the school district, Albany County District Attorney’s Office and Albany County Crime Victim Center have been offered to employees.

Superintendent David Perry, in a statement issued on the district’s website, indicated the district’s administration has been working closely with police on the investigation and will continue to do so.

The investigation continued Monday and search warrants were  being executed on Morgan’s residence in Frankfort. Efforts will also be made to identify additional victims and to determine if the videos have been distributed anywhere and determine if covert cameras were placed in any other locations, police said.

The school has been checked thoroughly and police do not believe any other cameras are being used on school property, police said.

“We encourage everyone to remain vigilant, especially when utilizing public restrooms or dressing rooms,” police said in a statement. “Inexpensive cameras like this one used here are readily available at many online retailers, and are covert enough to blend in and not be noticed.”

Anyone who sees an item that doesn’t seem right, or seems out of place, should report the item to building management or to the police department, police said.

Morgan was being held for arraignment later Monday.

Anyone with information on the case is asked to contact Colonie investigators at 518-783-2754.

 

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