South Colonie teacher accused of hiding camera in staff bathroom

A fifth grade teacher at Sand Creek Middle School in Colonie is facing nearly two dozen felony charges in a case the judge called alarming and disturbing.

Police took Patrick Morgan, 57, into custody Monday morning. They say he planted a camera in a staff bathroom at the school, capturing video and images of multiple staff members — male and female — in various stages of undress.

Morgan pleaded not guilty Monday afternoon to 22 counts of unlawful surveillance.

The court expressed grave concerns about Morgan’s mental health. He was released under the supervision of probation and ordered to undergo a mental health evaluation.

The investigation began on Friday after a camera disguised to look like a phone charger was found in the bathroom.

Police say there is no evidence that any videos of students were taken.

Investigators aren’t sure how long the camera was in place.

“We’re working on that,” Lt. Dan Belles said. “It’s too early to tell, but it looks like at least a couple days, possibly longer.”

Police are searching Morgan’s home in Herkimer County.

Classes were cancelled Monday at the school out of an abundance of caution and to give the South Colonie School District a chance to address this with faculty members.

Morgan has been a teacher in the school district for 28 years. He’s been placed on administrative leave while the investigation continues.