published on
2 March, 2017

Seattle police officer pleads guilty to charges stemming from strip-club probe
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Officer Robert Marlow was placed on paid leave last year after an undercover investigation into the Dancing Bare strip club revealed his relationship with a dancer and his alleged role in illegal activities.

Admitting that he "went off the rails," a veteran Seattle police officer pleaded guilty Monday to drug and computer-trespassing charges stemming from his ties to a North Seattle strip-club dancer and a TV news anchor.

Under a plea agreement, Officer Robert Marlow, 47, pleaded guilty to solicitation to possess the drug MDMA and second-degree computer trespassing, both gross misdemeanors.

King County District Court Judge Ketu Shah then sentenced Marlow to an agreed term of 30 days on an offender work crew, saying Marlow had "betrayed the trust of the community."

Shah said Marlow may seek to have both convictions dismissed in two years if he meets the terms of his sentence and has no further violations.

The judge's decision to allow the conviction to be lifted in the future was his own. Neither the prosecutor's office nor Marlow's attorney suggested he be granted that opportunity.

"I went off the rails," a contrite Marlow told the judge, apologizing for breaking the trust of his fellow officers.

Marlow described himself as an alcoholic, and his attorney, Risa Woo, said he has undergone treatment, a factor Shah noted in handing down his sentence. As part of the sentence, Marlow must complete a class on stopping sexual exploitation and not use drugs or alcohol.

Marlow, who joined the Police Department in 1999, was placed on paid leave last year after an undercover investigation into the Dancing Bare strip club revealed his alleged role in illegal activities. Two club operators pleaded guilty to prostitution-related charges.

According to court documents, Marlow was romantically involved with a club dancer and shared drugs with her.

The dancer, who later pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges, admitted to using heroin and selling small amounts to support her habit. She also told investigators she had used narcotics with Marlow, including cocaine and "molly," street slang for MDMA, also known as Ecstasy, on his days off, according to the documents.

The dancer said Marlow was responsible for buying the cocaine and MDMA and sharing it with her, the documents say.

During the investigation, detectives discovered that Marlow also had regularly sent Q13 FOX News news anchor David Rose text messages containing personal information on crime victims obtained from a restricted department computer database, the documents say. Rose then contacted the people for news stories.

Rose later told investigators he was doing his due diligence as a news reporter in using Marlow as a source of information for his stories, the court documents say.

Marlow was originally accused of felony drug possession, but pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor offense under a reduced charge.

He also pleaded guilty to the computer-trespassing charge for his unauthorized use of the database.

Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Amy Montgomery told the judge Marlow chose to abuse his privilege, showing an "incredible lack of judgment."

The Police Department's Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) will now move forward on an internal investigation, which had been on hold during the criminal proceedings, Pierce Murphy, the OPA's civilian director, said Monday.

Marlow said in court he planned to personally apologize to Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole, who makes final disciplinary decisions.

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