Martial arts instructor pleads not guilty to rape charges

Robert James Morrison on Sept. 8 entered a plea of not guilty to all charges during a brief arraignment at the Norm Maleng Justice Center in Kent.

Robert James Morrison on Sept. 8 entered a plea of not guilty to all charges during a brief arraignment at the Norm Maleng Justice Center in Kent.

Morrison, the owner of Lee’s Martial Arts studio in Renton and Maple Valley, is charged with three counts of rape of a child in the third degree one count of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes, stemming from statements made by former students, one of whom allegedly began a relationship with him when she was 14 that eventually progressed to sex. He also allegedly sent nude photos of himself to three other students.

Morrison is currently out on bail and appeared in court Thursday surrounded by family and supporters.

State prosecutor Joel Merkel requested five separate sexual assault protection orders and a no-contact order with all minors.

Morrison’s attorney, Philip Thornton of Tacoma, requested a change to supervised contact with minors because though Morrison has stepped away from the school, Thornton argued that as owner, he may need to visit the building, which could include the possibility of being around minors.

Merkel countered that because the school is where Morrison is alleged to have met his victims and said the circumstances described by Thornton were precisely what the state was concerned about.

Judge Bill A. Bowman ultimately determined that Morrison could be at the school if supervised by someone who knew about the case, according to Thronton.

Following the arraignment, Morrison left the courtroom with his supporters, who circled him and protected him from television cameras as they entered the elevator. Neither he nor Thornton made any statements or comments to the press.

Morrison is innocent until proven guilty. His case-setting hearing is scheduled for 1 p.m. Sept. 20 at the Norm Maleng Justice Center in Kent.

More in News

Cross-country cyclists make first stop in Enumclaw

Pi Kappa Phi fraternity members from all around the country stopped at Ashley House on their first stop on the Journey of Hope tour.

Wyatt Hodder same in third in one of this year’s tree climbing competitions. Photo by Ashley Britschgi
Junior Show attracts 142 competitors, here are the winners

Make sure you don’t miss the big event next weekend.

Enumclaw couple reach marriage milestone of 75 years

Fred and Jean Gramann have been married since 1943

Bryan Jeter introduces himself to Bonney Lake staff during a May council meeting. Photo by Ray Still
Jeter returns to Bonney Lake as police chief

The city has grown since he left 13 years ago, but Bryan Jeter says he’s ready for the challenge.

Enumclaw eighth-grader advances to Atlanta for History Bee finals

Kyle Bowen went to the quarter finals in the national competition.

$500K boost for Fennel Creek Trail project, keeps out of way of objecting neighborhood

Senator Phil Fortunato helped the city find money to cover the cost of going around the neighborhood instead of through it.

Spartans rock the cap and gown | Slideshow

Check out some photos from last Friday’s Sumner High School graduation.

Don’t miss out on the summer reading kickoff event on June 27.

Summer is almost here! Parents: What are you going to do to… Continue reading

Most Read