A former Evergreen High School teacher who took an “upskirt” image of a 14-year-old girl in his class was resentenced Friday to four months in jail after two of his convictions were dismissed on appeal.
Matthew Morasch, 44, was originally sentenced in August 2017 to six months in jail after a Clark County Superior Court jury found him guilty of one count of voyeurism, a felony, and two counts of attempted voyeurism, gross misdemeanors. He remained out of custody on a $25,000 appeals bond, though, while he appealed his convictions.
The Washington Court of Appeals in April reversed Morasch’s felony conviction and one of the gross misdemeanors. The higher court found that a warrant authorizing the search of his cellphone, where images were found, was overly broad in violation of the Fourth Amendment — “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures.” Because of that, evidence found on his phone — an upskirt image of a woman at a local Goodwill — was suppressed.
Morasch was a freshman physics teacher at the school and in his 10th year with the district when the crime occurred. The district placed him on leave when the allegations surfaced, but he later resigned.
On Friday, his earlier sentence was vacated, and he was resentenced on the one remaining count.
Deputy Prosecutor Luka Vitasovic said it would be silly to argue for a sentence above the original 180 days, so he asked the judge to impose the same sentence.
He argued that Morasch violated his position of trust and needs to be held accountable. Vitasovic said the dismissal of the two counts doesn’t change Morasch’s conduct.
Morasch’s attorney, Alan Harvey, said his client has done everything he’s supposed to do: He paid his fines and completed supervised release and a psycho-sexual evaluation. He asked the judge to impose a 45-day sentence.
Morasch told the judge that the court process has been long and restrictive.
“It’s been very difficult to get a decent job,” he said, adding that he’s making barely more than minimum wage. He also said he’s been caring for his dying mother and asked that any time he receive be deferred.
In determining the new sentence, Judge Derek Vanderwood said he considered the seriousness of the offense compounded with the location of the incident. He said a classroom is supposed to be a safe place, and Morasch violated that notion with his conduct.
“The reality is justice needs to be observed” in the context of the case, Vanderwood said.
He sentenced Morasch to 364 days, with 229 days suspended. Morasch was also given credit for 18 days already served. He will also serve 12 months of probation and must continue to register as a sex offender for the next eight years.
Morasch was taken into custody after the hearing.