Martial arts instructor charged with child rape; suspect operated Lee’s Martial Arts studios in Maple Valley and Renton

The King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office charged Robert James Morrison, 42, of Bellevue, Aug. 26 with one count of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes and three counts of rape of a child in the third degree. He was arrested Aug. 24 in Renton at Lee's Martial Arts Academy LLC where he is an instructor and he is listed as the sole governing person for the corporation. Morrison also operated a martial arts studio in Maple Valley.

Robert Morrison.

By Brian Beckley

Renton Reporter Editor

The King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office charged Robert James Morrison, 42, of Bellevue, Aug. 26 with one count of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes and three counts of rape of a child in the third degree. He was arrested Aug. 24 in Renton at Lee’s Martial Arts Academy LLC where he is an instructor and he is listed as the sole governing person for the corporation. Morrison also operated a martial arts studio in Maple Valley.

Bail was set at $300,000 and the court documents labeled him as a “severe danger to the community and to other children.”

Additional conditions requested by prosecutors included sexual assault protection orders for all victims and a no contact order with all minors.

Morrison was released on bail Saturday, Aug. 27.

He is innocent until proven guilty.

According to court documents, Morrison admitted to police he sent photos of himself to “a number of his students.” One of those victims also described multiple occasions of inappropriate sexual contact.

According to the documents,”The defendant not only sent photographs of himself, he also groomed another victim from the time she was [14] with photos, text messages and ultimately sexual contact.”

Information included with the probable cause documents indicate when detectives asked Morrison about the photos, he admitted to sending Snapchat messages and initially told police he was wearing shorts and he was only naked from the waist up.

However, “upon further questioning Morrison admitted there might have been one picture where he was not wearing any shorts but the sink would have blocked his (genitals) from showing.”

Morrison’s arraignment is scheduled for 9 a.m. Sept. 8 at the Maleng Regional Justice Center.

The probable cause documents alleged Morrison began a relationship with one of his students when she was 14 years old.

According to Renton Police Commander David Leibman, the incidents came to light when an acquaintance of the primary victim, identified only by her initials, notified Child Protective Services that Morrison was engaged in a sexual relationship with a student at his martial arts school.

The documents stated, the victim took martial arts classes at Morrison’s studio on and off for several years, but when she turned 14, the relationship changed as Morrison allegedly began sending the victim Snapchats and texts of himself in his underwear, something she “thought was weird and not right.”

The pictures then progressed from Morrison in his underwear to him wearing a towel and eventually himself nude.

The victim said she began sending Morrison photos of herself, but she did not think she would have sent them if he didn’t ask.

The victim said she sent the photos because Morrison “noticed her.”

According to the documents, the relationship changed again after an incident at Morrison’s home during which the pair were sitting together on the couch and sending electronic messages back and forth so Morrison’s son, who was nearby, could not hear what they were saying. During that exchange, Morrison allegedly asked the victim if she wanted him to touch her. She responded yes, then no.

Following that incident, the victim said Morrison began sending more pictures and touching her breasts “all the time,” “wherever they were.” The victim also reported seeing Morrison touch the breasts of another girl, also identified only by her initials, and “took it as a joke.”

The victim said after she turned 15, Morrison began “touching her on the inside and outside of her clothing ‘a lot.'”

According to the victim, she first had relations with Morrison in May of 2015 at his home in Bellevue while her mother and Morrison’s wife were both out of town. She also describes a second intimate encounter a few weeks later at his home.

Following the second encounter, the victim left for a vacation, during which she said Morrison sent her multiple naked pictures of himself through Snapchat. After returning from the trip, she again began studying at Morrison’s martial arts studio and she said the two began having relations “a lot” in various locations at the Renton studio and twice at the Maple Valley studio.

Detectives interviewed three additional victims, all females between the ages of 15 and 17, at the Maple Valley studio. All three reported receiving Snapchat messages from Morrison in May and June, including a nude photo of Morrison with a caption partially covering his genitals.

One of the Maple Valley victims also described in-person sexual advances/touching by Morrison.

According to the report, all of the Snapchat messages were automatically deleted and a search warrant sent to the company did not recover any messages.

However, one of the Maple Valley victims had a regular text conversation with Morrison in which he “essentially admitted to sending the messages and, after initially berating her, apologized.”

The deputy later spoke with Morrison who admitted sending Snapchat and text messages but denied any sexual intent. He also denied making advances toward the victims.

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