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Fri, Oct. 18

Teacher accused of sexual misconduct fired by Prescott Unified School District

Mark Dean Morgan

Mark Dean Morgan

Prescott Unified School District (PUSD) board members voted 4-0 to dismiss former Prescott High School teacher Mark Dean Morgan, 41, during a special meeting Tuesday. Board President Maureen Erickson was not present.

Board members discussed the particulars of their decision during executive session, but approved his dismissal during the public portion of the meeting. Morgan did not attend the meeting.

Morgan was arrested Sept. 11 on charges related to alleged sexual abuse and exploitation of two girls under the age of 15. Charges included continuous sexual abuse of a child, aggravated luring of a minor for sexual exploitation and misconduct involving weapons. Morgan's arrest warrant included a total of seven felonies, according to a Sept. 12 Prescott Police Department news release. At the time of his arrest, police reported an alleged illegal firearm in the home.

Morgan worked as a student science teacher at Prescott High School during the fall of 2012. PUSD officials hired him to teach science for the current school year. He was placed on administrative leave in August when school officials became aware of the charges leveled against him. Those charges, police indicated, did not stem from his employment with the school district or any school-related activities.

Morgan's arrest came after a lengthy Prescott Police Department investigation into allegations that Morgan was involved in sexual relations with his former live-in girlfriend's two minor daughters. Detectives believe the alleged incidents occurred between January 2011 and December 2012. According to police, the girlfriend and her daughters no longer live with or have a relationship with Morgan.

Morgan was held in lieu of a $50,000 bond. He bonded out on Sept. 13, according to Dwight D'Evelyn with the Yavapai County Sheriff's Department.

Board members were given a statement of charges prior to making their decision. The statement indicated Morgan did not maintain proper certification through the duration of his employment. PUSD officials were notified by the Arizona Department of Education that Morgan's fingerprint card, a part of the certification process, was no longer valid and classified by the Department of Public Safety as suspended.

The charges concluded that, "Due to the suspension of Mr. Morgan's fingerprint clearance card, Mr. Morgan no longer meets the necessary qualifications for his job, and has violated a material condition of his contract."

Follow reporter Patrick Whitehurst on Twitter @pwdcourier.

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