As part of the investigation, detectives discovered Officer Robert Marlow had regularly sent Q13 news anchor David Rose text messages containing personal information on crime victims obtained from a restricted department computer database, according to charging documents.
A veteran Seattle police officer has been charged with illegal drug possession arising from his ties to a North Seattle strip-club dancer and computer trespass for providing confidential information on crime victims to a Q13 FOX News anchor.
The charges, filed last month against Robert Marlow after an investigation by Seattle police detectives and the FBI’s Public Corruption Squad, grew out of a probe of the Dancing Bare strip club at 10338 Aurora Ave. N.
According to the charges, Marlow was romantically involved with a dancer and shared drugs with her.
During the investigation, detectives discovered Marlow also had regularly sent Q13 news anchor David Rose text messages containing personal information on crime victims obtained from a restricted department computer database, according to charging documents filed in King County District Court.
Most Read Local Stories
- Meet Loren Culp, the Republican gubernatorial candidate who wants to unseat Jay Inslee
- Coronavirus daily news updates, September 20: What to know today about COVID-19 in the Seattle area, Washington state and the world
- Researchers attach cameras to Pacific Northwest orcas, revealing a marvelous underwater world WATCH
- Fall is about to start, and so is the rainy season, with up to an inch in a single day this week
- Seattle is an 'anarchist' city, Trump administration says
Rose, who contacted the people for news stories, told investigators he was doing his due diligence as a news reporter in using Marlow as a source of information for his stories, the documents say.
Marlow, 47, has pleaded not guilty to one count of violating the Uniform Controlled Substances Act, a felony, and one count of second-degree computer trespass, a gross misdemeanor, filed by the King County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office.
He plans to plead guilty to gross misdemeanors under amended charges next week, his attorney, Nelson Lee, said Tuesday.
“This is something he is not running away from,” Lee said, adding his client has a drug-addiction problem and is undergoing treatment and attending Alcoholics Anonymous.
Marlow, who joined the department in 1999, has been on paid administrative leave since he became implicated in the investigation last year.
The investigation into Marlow began while detectives were conducting an undercover investigation in 2015 at Dancing Bare, which led to prostitution-related arrests and convictions of two club operators. A confidential informant told detectives the dancer was reportedly selling narcotics in and around the club and telling people her boyfriend was a Seattle police officer later identified as Marlow, according to the documents.
The informant also reported the dancer and Marlow, a West Precinct patrol officer, had used cocaine inside the club, the documents say.
Detectives discovered Marlow and the dancer shared an apartment, and an undercover officer twice bought heroin from the dancer, according to the documents.
In March 2016, the dancer agreed to sell heroin to another undercover officer and to perform a sex act for money, the documents say.
The dancer, who later pleaded guilty to conspiracy charges, was arrested and 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.
The dancer also told investigators drugs would be found on a nightstand on Marlow’s side of their bed, as well as narcotics paraphernalia inside the apartment.
During the initial interview with the dancer, Seattle police command staff summoned Marlow to headquarters and placed him on paid leave, taking his badge, gun and cellphone.
As investigators interviewed Marlow, detectives obtained a search warrant for his apartment and found trace amounts of suspected cocaine, some intermixed on a plate with Marlow’s Costco card, atop a computer desk, according to the documents.
In addition, 17 suspected MDMA pills were found in a plastic bag in a drawer of the desk along with two passports belonging to Marlow and a Seattle police patch, the documents say. A narcotics field-test kit of the type used by Seattle police also was found in the drawer.
Detectives found an eyeglass case on top of the refrigerator containing two pipes, a baggie containing suspected marijuana and a Seattle police business card with “Bobby Marlow” handwritten on it with his phone number, the documents say.
Detectives subsequently obtained a search warrant for Marlow’s cellphone and observed several pictures of Seattle police “database terminal responses” of individuals’ personal information, including their name, address, birth date, Social-Security information and other information, according to the documents.
“In each picture, the associated terminal was displaying the personal information of someone that Marlow had run through databases” while using his status as a police officer, the documents say.
With another search warrant, detectives discovered Marlow had sent text messages with the information to a phone belonging to Rose.
In a Sept. 1 interview with investigators, Rose confirmed, within his work as a reporter, he occasionally contacted Marlow to obtain phone numbers to crime victims, according to the documents.
Rose told investigators he never maliciously used the information but would contact Marlow to ask about people involved in Seattle police incidents.
After contacting people for news stories, Rose said he never maliciously collected or kept personal information and that he was simply reporting crimes for other potential victims to be aware of, the documents say.
Rose, in an email sent to The Seattle Times Tuesday night, wrote, “I can confirm that the information in the charging documents related to the statements I gave to investigators is what I told them.”
Station news director Erica Hill issued a statement Tuesday night, saying, “Journalists routinely seek out sources to gather and verify information for important stories. Q13 News relies on our sources in law enforcement to help inform our audience about crimes going on in our area and we use this information carefully and responsibly.”
Rose anchors Q13 FOX News at 9, 10 and 11 p.m., according to his station biography. He is also executive producer and host of “Washington’s Most Wanted,” a weekly crime-fighting program that, according to the station, has led to the capture of more than 860 fugitives and helped numerous victims since 2008.
The Seattle police manual states inquiries through the records system are only to be made for legitimate law-enforcement purposes and are not to be shared with people outside the criminal-justice system without permission of the police chief or by due process of law, according to the documents.
Marlow’s unauthorized conduct constituted criminal trespass, the documents say.
Criminal-records information was sent to Rose between Oct. 19, 2015, and Feb. 11, 2016, according to papers filed by Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Amy Montgomery.
The Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory found one of the capsules from the seized pills contained MDMA, Montgomery wrote.
The Police Department’s Office of Professional Accountability (OPA) has opened an internal investigation of Marlow, which is on hold pending the resolution of the criminal case, OPA Director Pierce Murphy said Tuesday.