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Upstate NY teachers sue over hidden camera in middle school bathroom

Syracuse.com 11/30/2022 Geoff Herbert, syracuse.com

Teachers are suing an Upstate New York school district and a former co-worker after he secretly recorded them with a hidden camera in a staff bathroom.

The Times-Union reports 17 staff members at Sand Creek Middle School filed two lawsuits Tuesday seeking compensation for “pain, suffering, emotional distress and harm” as well as personal and financial injuries. The suits name Patrick Morgan, who admitted filming his colleagues, and the South Colonie Central School District where the suburban Albany school is located.

Morgan, 58, was a fifth-grade teacher at Sand Creek Middle School for nearly three decades until his arrest in February when a camera was discovered in the co-ed staff restroom. Police said the camera was disguised as a phone charger and was regularly removed by Morgan to download images and videos to computers and storage devices at his home for his own sexual gratification.

The victims, who were filmed in “various stages of undress,” ranged in age from 28 to 72 years old. The Times Union reports the bathroom was also used by disabled students, but officials have not indicated that any students were recorded.

Morgan apologized and pleaded guilty in Albany County Court earlier this month to two felony counts of unlawful surveillance, according to the Albany newspaper.

The lawsuits accuse the school district of “willfully, wantonly and knowingly” allowing a “hostile and dangerous” work environment, according to court documents. Morgan had been previously been subject to disciplinary action and had a history of inappropriate conduct, the lawsuits allege, claiming school officials “should have known of the danger presented to members of the public, including school staff and students.”

Morgan, who was placed on administrative leave Feb. 14 and officially resigned from the school on Nov. 15, is scheduled to be sentenced Jan. 25. He faces up to six years in prison and must register as a sex offender.

©2022 Advance Local Media LLC. Visit syracuse.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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