A South Colonie teacher has been arraigned on 22 Class E felony charges for hiding a camera in a staff bathroom. The Colonie Police Department said Patrick Morgan, 57, of Frankfort, New York, works as a fifth grade teacher at Sand Creek Middle School. 11 orders of protection were also issued during his arraignment Monday evening.
Police said a staff member found the hidden camera in a co-ed staff bathroom on Friday, February 11. About 30 videos and images of faculty members, both men and women, were found on the camera, showing them in various stages of undress.
Police said the camera was disguised as a cell phone charger. Multiple faculty members have been identified as victims.
Colonie Police say they have evidence the camera was placed in the restroom by Morgan, “We were able to look at footage from the device itself, which did capture him on the device, planting it and checking on it,” Lieutenant Dan Belles explained.
Investigators said there were able to recover deleted videos that were of him learning to use it. At this time, there is no evidence that any videos or photos were taken of students.
“None of the videos contained students or children, so we seem to think he was focused on employees,” Belles said.
Classes were canceled at Sand Creek Middle School on Monday out of an abundance of caution Monday. In a letter to the school community, South Colonie Superintendent Dr. David Perry said that Morgan, whose taught in the district for 28 years, has been placed on administrative leave and is not working on school grounds. He went on to say they will pass along any new information learned during the police investigation.
One parent with a son in Morgan’s class said she’s furious, “We send our kids to school thinking they’re going to be safe. Yes, they said it hasn’t affected the kids so far, but I mean, this still does affect them, hearing about it on the news,” said Jamie McGraw.
McGraw fears her son will not want to return to school when classes resume tomorrow, “He’s 10. He doesn’t even understand what somebody could be thinking when they’re going through this. He saw this teacher every day.”
Police have thoroughly searched the middle school for any additional recording devices, but don’t believe any others are on the premises.
This investigation is still ongoing. Colonie Police are looking to identify any additional victims, or whether any images or videos were distributed. Search warrants were also executed at Morgan’s residence in Herkimer County.
During his arraignment, it was said Morgan could face additional charges and be ordered more orders of protection as the investigation continues. He’s due back in court next month, but it is to be determined where it will be held. Morgan will also undergo a mental health evaluation.