Seattle PD officer charged with drug possession and releasing crime victim information

SEATTLE – A Seattle police officer has been charged with possessing drugs and, separately, illegally using department computer equipment to access and release confidential crime victim information to a reporter.

Officer Robert Lee Marlow was charged with violation of the uniform controlled substances act and second-degree computer trespass last month in King County Superior Court.

The investigation into Marlow came about last year after an undercover officer who was working a sting operation at the Dancing Bare strip club found Marlow was frequenting the club and “engaging in questionable conduct,” the department said at the time. He was placed on administrative leave in March.

According to charging documents released to Q13 News on Tuesday, this is what the investigation found:

The undercover officer learned that a dancer was selling cocaine at the Dancing Bare strip club. An informant said the dancer called Marlow her boyfriend, and said the couple would use cocaine at the club from time to time.

As the investigation progressed, vice cops set up a meeting in which the dancer agreed to sell heroin to an undercover officer and perform a sex act on him. She was then arrested.

The dancer admitted to selling heroin, and said she stored it in the Greenwood apartment she shared with Marlow. She said she sometimes used cocaine and MDMA with Marlow on his days off.

Marlow was then placed on administrative leave.

When a search warrant was served on the apartment, officers found 17 MDMA pills in Marlow’s bedside table, as well as trace amounts of cocaine and a small amount of marijuana.

Another search warrant was obtained, this time for Marlow’s iPhone. Detectives found several pictures of computer screens showing information from the Seattle Police database with information on crime victims including their names and addresses.

Detectives got another warrant to expand their search, and found that Marlow had texted photos of crime victim information to Q13 News anchor David Rose.

Detectives interviewed Rose, who confirmed that he occasionally contacted Marlow to get the phone numbers of crime victims.  Rose told detectives he was doing his due diligence as a reporter, saying he didn’t use the information maliciously and was reporting crimes to raise awareness among other potential victims.

Q13 News director Erica Hill also released this statement:

"Journalists routinely seek out sources to gather and verify information for important stories,” Hill said. “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.”

Marlow has been on paid administrative leave since last year and will face a judge next week.