Michael Evan Morse, 26, previously worked as an audio visual technician at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School in Pennsylvania. He also held a position as a stage manager for extracurricular activities. Morse faces charges that he had inappropriate sexual contact with a teenage student at the school. He was arraigned on charges on Wednesday of institutional sexual assault, unlawful contact or communication with a minor, corruption of a minor, and tampering with or fabricating physical evidence. The incidents for which he is charged occurred between December 2014 and May 2015. District Court Judge Deborah Lukens set Morse’s bail at 10 percent of $50,000. He was remanded to the county jail to await a July 22 preliminary hearing on the charges.
According to court documents, the girl was 17-years-old when Morse sent inappropriate sexually explicit text messages to the girl and she was 18 when they engaged in a physical sexual relationship. Morse and the girl allegedly texted each other thousands of times between December 2014 and May 2015. On some days, they even texted each other over 250 times. They also had long telephone conversations, some lasting more than an hour.
The girl had contact with Morse as part of her extracurricular school activities. She turned 18 earlier this year. Montgomery County District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman noted that Morse violated the relationship of trust we place in educational institutions, and stated the following according to The Mercury News.
“The charges here reflect a course of conduct in which a school employee engaged in a relationship with a student at the school, everything from sexually explicit text messages, ultimately culminating in a direct sexual relationship.”
When officials of the Colonial School District became aware of the inappropriate relationship, they contacted police. Morse was initially placed on administrative leave and later resigned from employment with the District. The District has cooperated with the ongoing investigation which began in June, according to Montgomery Media.
The girl admitted that she had sex with Morse on May 6 “in the lights and sound booth in the auditorium at Plymouth Whitemarsh High School,” according to the criminal complaint. She also admitted that she had deleted the text messages from her phone at Morse’s request. Detectives were able to recover those messages.
A state law enacted in 2012 made it a felony for any teacher or school employee, including counselors and coaches, to engage in sexual relations with any student under 18 or with any student who is still in high school. A violation is now considered a third-degree felony, punishable by three-and-a-half to seven years in prison.
What penalty do you think that Michael Morse should receive? Please leave your comments below.
Teachers of course hold positions of trust and are held to a high standard. Of course, if they betray that trust, they should be held accountable. Another teacher was fired after she was found to have made a sex tape, according to an article in the Inquisitr.
[Photo Courtesy Montgomery County District Attorney website]