UTC student charged with putting spy cams in dorms - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

UTC student charged with putting spy cams in dorms

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By Gordon Boyd
Eyewitness News Reporter

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) – A former residence assistant is facing charges of Arson and burglary at U-T Chattanooga.

As a Psychology major, UT-Chattanooga freshman Lauren Nagle finds irony in that her dorm's former Resident Assistant is facing criminal charges.

"That's what's kind of crazy about it," she says. "He's supposed to be keeping us safe, and he was the one that did it."

'It', campus police say, involves placing spy cameras in three on-campus apartments; one in Guerry Hall, two in the Stophel Building.

Bernard 'Junior' Morris, 23, faces twelve counts of aggravated burglary and one count of arson. Campus police arrested him late Monday, Chief Bob Ratchford says, based on information gathered from students after they returned from Spring Break.

"They noticed some things that were out of place," Chief Ratchford says. "And they found surveillance cameras, the kind you could buy on the internet."

Morris had been a Resident Assistant at Guerry Fall Semester, according to UT-C spokeswoman Cindy Carroll. Resident Assistants, sometimes called dorm monitors, are given universal 'swipe cards' that allow them access to any locked door within a dormitory.

Chief Ratchford declines to say whether investigators believe Morris may have used such a card to enter the rooms of his alleged victims.

But three of Morris' former roommates suspect he's responsible for an unsettling incident dating to their from Fall Break.

"I came home to find my room unlocked, and by bed messed up," Freshman Grant Schryver says. "Under my bed, there was a bag of women's underwear. It freaked us out."

"I was thinking, he (Morris) is the only one who could have gotten in," says former roommate Keith Jackson.

"There was just something about him that wasn't right," former roommate 'Pocket' Lankford says.

UT-Chattanooga does not require criminal background checks to serve as a Resident Assistant, according to Carroll.

But Eyewitness News has learned Morris pleaded guilty to Aggravated Burglary and Arson in 2006, just before he turned 19.

He was sentenced to six year's probation. But less than a year later, he admitted harassing and stalking a woman. He was sentenced to 11 months, 29 days in the Hamilton County workhorse, and ordered to stay away from his victim

"I didn't know any of that," Jackson says. "But I'd imagine they'll be doing background checks from now on."

Morris is in the Hamilton County Jail on $100,000 bond. Besides the criminal charges, he faces a disciplinary hearing at UT-C, that could lead to expulsion. Meantime, he's barred from campus.

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