Emotions ran high on both sides of the courtroom Thursday when Robert James Morrison, 44, received his sentencing for five separate counts — three felony counts of rape of a child, one felony count of communication with a minor for immoral purposes and a gross misdemeanor count of communication with a minor for immoral purposes.
Morrison was sentenced by Judge John Erlick to 60 months for each of the four felony counts to run concurrently. If released prior to 60 months in prison, he will serve up to 36 months probation. For the gross misdemeanor, he was sentenced to a suspended 364 days for 24 months.
Once released from prison, he will serve 12 months community custody.
During the sentencing hearing Oct. 25, the prosecution reiterated its recommendation.
While Morrison’s defense attorney, Philip Thornton, asked the judge to consider granting Morrison SSOSA (special sex offender sentencing alternative — RCW 9.94A.670).
According to the RCW, many factors go into considering whether a defendant is eligible for SSOSA. In order to be granted SSOSA, the court would have to consider if Morrison and the community would benefit from this alternative sentencing.
If Erlick had ruled in favor of SSOSA, Morrison could have been sentenced to jail for up to 12 months with the remainder of his sentence suspended so he could enter treatment.
Following statements from the four victims — all of whom were present with family and friends as support — and comments from Wonderful Morrison, Morrison’s ex-wife, his daughter and himself, Erlick made his ruling.
He followed the state’s recommendation.
Along with his sentencing, Morrison must also register as a sex offender, must not hold a position of authority involving minors, loses his right to possess a firearm and loses his right to vote.
On Aug. 16, 2018, less than a month before his trial date, Morrison pleaded guilty to the five charges.
In August 2016, Morrison was charged with one count of communicating with a minor for immoral purposes and three counts of rape of a child in the third degree.
He originally pleaded not guilty to all charges in September 2016.
Morrison is the former owner of Lee’s Martial Arts studio in Renton and Maple Valley.
For related stories previous run by the Reporter, click on the following links:
• Martial arts teacher’s relationship with victim began when she was 14, according to court documents
• Morrison enters not guilty plea