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Sept. 20, 2021

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Police: Images found on teacher’s phone

Judge grants bail, but bars contact with alleged victim

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor
Published:

An Evergreen High School teacher accused of inappropriately filming a student in class with his cellphone told police that he may have accidentally bumped the phone, activating its camera, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Clark County Superior Court.

Matthew Morasch, 40, made a first appearance Tuesday morning in Superior Court on suspicion of two counts of voyeurism in connection with the June 15 incident. He allegedly took the video in a classroom, two days before the end of the school year.

According to the affidavit, three students told police they saw what they believed to be Morasch filming the lower half of another student. The 14-year-old girl was seated at the corner of a table where Morasch came to help students who were working on final projects. She was reportedly wearing a dress and had her legs crossed, they said.

Two of the witnesses said they were able to see the picture on Morasch’s phone and that he was recording the girl under the table. They said Morasch held the phone in that position for one to two minutes. One of the witnesses reported seeing Morasch glance at the phone while talking with students. A second witness said she snapped a photo of Morasch while he was recording the girl, court records said.

A third student said he believed Morasch was using the video function on his cellphone to record the legs of the girl. He said he was able to see the picture on Morasch’s phone of the girl’s bare legs. He said he also could see the timer counting and that the red record button was on, according to court documents. The student said he saw Morasch glance at his phone several times and hold the phone there for approximately two to three minutes, the affidavit says.

The school’s student resource officer took the initial report, but the case was forwarded to the Vancouver Police Department’s Digital Evidence Cybercrime Unit. Morasch was placed on paid administrative leave the same day and has not returned to work since, the district’s spokeswoman Gail Spolar said.

Police spoke to the alleged victim and asked her if she had ever given Morasch permission to record her. She said no. An officer also spoke with Morasch, who stated that he could have accidentally bumped the camera on his cellphone. Morasch surrendered the phone to police, court records said.

On June 17, detectives obtained a search warrant to digitally examine Morasch’s cellphone. The video that was taken of the student had been deleted, the affidavit says. Morasch had reportedly been notified by other students that he had been photographed while using his cellphone to record the alleged victim prior to police seizing the phone, according to court documents.

However, investigators found one other photo, and video taken of two different females in April. One photo was taken of a student in Morasch’s classroom. She was seated on a desk, wearing a dress and with her legs crossed. The photo appeared to be taken through a slight gap between a computer monitor and file folders on his desk, court records said.

The video is of a female who is wearing a dress, looking at a bookshelf inside the Battle Ground Goodwill store. The person recording walks by and appears to kneel down to the ground and record up the female’s dress. That alleged victim has not yet been identified, the affidavit says.

Morasch appeared Tuesday with a provisional attorney, Clayton Spencer. He did not qualify for a court-appointed attorney and must hire his own, Judge Derek Vanderwood said.

Deputy Prosecutor Erin Culver requested Morasch be held in custody in lieu of $40,000 bail, citing an “abuse of trust” with his students.

Spencer argued that bail amount was too high and asked for supervised release. Morasch reportedly has no criminal history, has family in the area and has had a stable job for years. The science teacher was finishing his 10th year in the school district, Spolar said.

Culver said there are some concerns about Morasch’s release because he may interfere with the investigation.

Judge Vanderwood set bail at $5,000. He ordered Morasch to not have contact with the alleged victim.

He is scheduled to be arraigned July 7.

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