An upstate New York teacher with legal woes in multiple counties has pleaded guilty to hiding a camera in a school’s co-ed faculty bathroom, according to a press release from the Albany County District Attorney’s Office. A total of 28 people were victimized, the DA’s office said.
Patrick F. Morgan, 58, of Colonie pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree unlawful surveillance in Albany County Court, the DA’s office announced. The crimes are Class E felonies.
Charging papers alleged that Morgan installed the camera in a staff bathroom at Sand Creek Middle School in the Town of Colonie sometime around Feb. 11, 2022, “with the intent to use the recordings for sexual gratification.”
Morgan was originally charged with 22 counts, the Albany County press release stated. The two guilty pleas “satisfie[d]” the complete spate of charges, it added.
“As an employee of Sand Creek Middle School, Patrick Morgan enjoyed a high level of trust among his peers,” Assistant District Attorney Ariel Fallon said in a statement. “His actions, which violated the privacy of 28 people, are an egregious betrayal of that trust. In the Special Victims Unit, we take exploitation very seriously and hope that today’s resolution provides his victims with some peace of mind and closure.”
Morgan faces an indeterminate sentence of two to six years in prison when he’s sentenced on Jan. 24, 2023.
“Additionally,” the DA’s office went on, “28 no-contact orders of protection have been issued, and he will be required to register as a sex offender.”
A faculty member found the device and notified administrators, according to our earlier report on the case. Administrators in turn contacted the police.
The device in question was alleged to have contained footage and pictures of both male and female faculty members in different states of undress, Albany CBS affiliate WRGB reported.
The police said when Morgan was arrested that video and other evidence provided proof that Morgan was the culprit.
The school district cancelled classes to discuss the matter with faculty.
South Colonie Central School District Superintendent Dr. David Perry said shortly after the arrest that Morgan had been placed on administrative leave and was no longer “working on school grounds.”
“It is important to note that at this time, we have been advised by the Colonie Police Department that there is no indication that students were impacted by the actions of Mr. Morgan,” Perry said in a statement.
That assessment does not appear to have changed; citing the police, WRGB reported this week that “there is no evidence students were recorded.”
Ironically, Morgan was credited with joining other teachers in the making of a popular so-called “toilet paper challenge” video. That 2020 video, which has since disappeared from YouTube, showed Morgan and others appearing to toss the same roll of toilet paper to one another. The editing made it look like the roll was making its way through homes, yards, streets, a trampoline, a kayak, and — strangely enough for Morgan — a police car.
Utica NBC affiliate WKTV reported that Morgan was charged separately for other yet similar incidents at his home in Frankfort, New York, shortly after the school bathroom recordings came to light.
Frankfort is in Herkimer County and sits about an hour and twenty minutes west of Colonie in New York’s Mohawk Valley. Colonie is a suburb of Albany, the state capital.
A New York State Police press release dated March 28, 2022, says Morgan was charged in the Herkimer County incident with 11 counts of unlawful surveillance, also Class E felonies, and one count of endangering the welfare of a child, a Class A misdemeanor.
“Morgan was previously arrested on February 14, 2022, by the Colonie Police Department,” the state police said at the time. “Subsequent to the investigation, additional victims in Herkimer County have been developed. All victims have been notified, and there are no indicating factors that there are any additional victims or charges in the future. There are no implications to any schools or businesses. All victims surrounding this case have been identified and wish to remain anonymous. Morgan was released on his own recognizance. ”
Citing the state police, WKTV said 11 images, including one of someone under the age of 17, were recovered from a camera installed in Morgan’s bathroom at home.
It is unclear if the Herkimer County case remains outstanding.
[Image via a mugshot provided by the Albany County, N.Y. District Attorney’s Office.]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]