COLONIE — A fifth grade teacher at the Sand Creek Middle School was arrested on Monday, Feb. 14, for allegedly placing a covert camera disguised as a cell phone charger in a co-ed employee bathroom at the school.
Patrick Morgan, 57, a teacher in the district for 28 years, was charged with two counts of felony unlawful surveillance with more charges are likely, said Lt. Daniel Belles, a spokesman for the Colonie Police Department.
South Colonie Superintendent David Perry, in a statement on the district website, said Morgan was placed on administrative leave and is no longer working on school grounds.
Sand Creek Middle School was closed Monday, but it is expected to re-open on Tuesday.
“It is important to note at this time, we have been advised by Colonie police that there is no indication that students were impacted by the actions of Mr. Morgan,” Perry said in a statement.
According to Belles, a faculty member found a suspicious device in the bathroom and turned it over to police. It was determined it was a functioning camera and it contained “videos and images of multiple faculty members, male and female, in various stages of undress.”
Morgan was located at his Herkimer County home on Monday and placed under arrest.
“Multiple faculty members have been identified as victims of this unlawful surveillance,” Belles said. “Counselors and victim advocates from the South Colonie School District, the Albany County District Attorney’s Office, and the Albany County Crime Victim Center have been offered to employees.”
The investigation is ongoing, and search warrants were being executed at Morgan’s residence on Monday.
Police were working to identify additional victims and determine if the videos had been distributed anywhere. Also, Belles said, police will determine if other covert cameras were set up in any other locations. Police have checked Sand Creek Middle School and “we do not believe any other cameras are currently being used on school property.”
“We encourage everyone to remain vigilant, especially when utilizing public restrooms or dressing rooms,” Belles said. “Inexpensive cameras like the one used here are readily available at many online retailers, and are covert enough to blend in and not be noticed. If you see an item in a restroom or dressing room that does not seem right, or seems out of place, report the item to the building management or the police department, so it can be examined and deemed innocuous.”
Morgan was slated for arraignment in the Town of Colonie Justice Court on Monday.
Anyone who has any relevant information regarding the investigation is asked to call Colonie police at 518-783-2754.