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Sun, Sept. 15

Prescott teacher arrested on sex charges

Mark Dean Morgan

Mark Dean Morgan

PRESCOTT - Police arrested Prescott High School teacher Mark Dean Morgan, 41, Wednesday on charges related to the alleged sexual abuse and exploitation of two girls under the age of 15.

For several months, detectives with the Prescott Police Department investigated allegations that Morgan was involved in sexually related acts with his former live-in girlfriend's two minor daughters. Detectives believe the alleged crimes first occurred in January 2011 and continued through December 2012. The girlfriend and her daughters no longer live with or have a relationship with Morgan, according to a press release issued by Prescott Police Department Lt. Ken Morley on Thursday. At the time of his arrest, police also reported an alleged illegal firearm in the home.

Police booked Morgan into the Yavapai County jail in Prescott on charges of continuous sexual abuse of a child, aggravated luring of a minor for sexual exploitation and misconduct involving weapons. The arrest warrant for Morgan included a total of seven felonies, according to the news release.

Morgan worked as a student science teacher for the high school during the fall of 2012. He was hired to teach science in spring of this year, according to a statement from Prescott Unified School District (PUSD) Superintendent Dave Smucker. Morgan was placed on administrative leave on Aug. 7 when school officials became aware of the police investigation. Besides teaching, Morgan has also been involved in the school's athletic program for the last four years.

According to school officials and information provided by Morley, the charges that led to his arrest are not connected to misconduct at the school or while coaching.

"He was arrested for crimes that had nothing to do with what he does at the school," Morley said. "We've been working on this since the beginning of last month. Once they became aware of it, the school immediately put him on administrative leave. That was their decision."

A Thursday PUSD statement indicated that any personnel action concerning Morgan's employment would be taken "in accordance with legal standards of due process" and be kept confidential until PUSD Governing Board takes an official action.

Morgan is being held in lieu of $50,000 bond.

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