September trial date set for martial arts studio owner

Before the September court date, an omnibus hearing is scheduled for Aug. 25

A Sept. 25 criminal trial date has been set for Renton martial arts studio owner, Robert James Morrison, on four felony counts.

Morrison was charged by the King County Prosecutor’s Office with one count of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes and three counts of third degree rape of a child on August 2016.

Morrison owns Lee’s Martial Arts Studio in Renton and Maple Valley.

He pleaded not guilty to all charges during an arraignment on Sept. 8, 2016 and released on a $300,000 bond.

Washington State Child Protective services first received a complaint last year about Morrison allegedly being engaged in inappropriate behavior with one of his students.

Once contacted, the girl alleged when Morrison began a relationship with her she was 14, and that she was 15 when Morrison began engaging in intimate activities with her. The probable cause court documents alleged Morrison and the girl had several intimate encounters at his Bellevue home, the Renton studio (located at 405 S Third St.) and the Maple Valley studio.

Three other females — ages ranging 15 to 17 at the time — said Morrison allegedly sent them inappropriate Snapchat pictures of himself.

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.

According to the probable cause document, “Morrison admitted to sending Snapchat messages… (and) explained his intent was to have them be reminders of healthy habits like brushing your teeth. Morrison said that he was wearing shorts in the pictures and was only naked from the waist up.”

He denied any sexual intent, according to the document.

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

Morrison’s attorney, Philip Thornton, requested a change to supervised contact with minors. The judge granted the motion determining Morrison could be at the school if supervised by someone who knew about the case.

An omnibus hearing is scheduled for Aug. 25.

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