Get the top 5 daily headlines and breaking news alerts from Seattle’s #1 morning news

Ex-owner of martial arts studio in Renton pleads guilty to child rape involving underage students

RENTON, Wash. -- Robert Morrison, who owned a Lee's Martial Arts franchise studio in Renton, has pleaded guilty to three counts of child rape and other charges for allegedly having sexual contact with some of his underage female students, the Renton Police Department said Monday.

Sentencing is set for Sept. 21, the Renton Police Department said in a news release.

Renton police arrested Morrison in 2016. The investigation began when state Child Protective Services received a complaint that Morrison, who was 42 at the time, was engaged in inappropriate behavior with one of his martial arts students.

Once contacted, the student told investigators she was 15 when Morrison began having a sexual relationship with her. Two other students came forward, saying that Morrison sent them inappropriate pictures on Snapchat.

Detectives say Morrison sent naked pictures of himself to the teen girls eventually, coaxing the 15-year-old to repeatedly have sex with him. Probable cause documents allege Morrison had sex with the teen at his Bellevue home when his wife was not home and also in his studios in Renton and Maple Valley.

Last Thursday, Renton police said, Morrison pleaded guilty to three counts of third-degree child rape, and two counts of communication with a minor for immoral purposes (one a felony and the other a gross misdemeanor).

Lee’s Martial Arts is a franchise business. There are about 7 branches in the Puget Sound and other owners say they are not associated with Morrison.