King County Metro worker accused of prostituting babysitter


    King County Metro worker accused of prostituting babysitter (PHOTO: KOMO News)

    King County Metro's Interim Director of Facilities, Mark L. Norton, was arrested Monday for investigation of trafficking.

    King County Sheriff's investigators accuse him of grooming his family babysitter to perform sex acts.

    A Snohomish County judge found probable cause against him today, but released the 45-year-old from jail while investigators review additional evidence recently collected after executing a search warrant.

    The deputy prosecutor said the investigators need time to go through the evidence, and recommended Norton be released on his own reconnaissance.

    The judge agreed with the recommendation. Norton appeared on a video monitor in a Snohomish County courthouse from the nearby jail house courtroom for the proceeding.

    King County Sheriff's spokesman Ryan Abbott said the allegations began in 2008 when the babysitter was 16 and continued for seven years.

    "During that time, the suspect became friends with the babysitter, ended up moving into sexual acts that occurred between the two and coerced his way into almost a relationship," said Abbott.

    The Certification for Probable Cause (PC) documents used in Norton's arrest allege the sex acts were against the sitters will.

    The PC document goes on to say the babysitter eventually moved into Norton's basement, and that he was married at the time.

    A news release from the King County Sheriff's Office says Norton pressured the victim to engage in prostitution on numerous occasions throughout Everett, Lynnwood and Seattle.

    The Probable Cause document says when she turned 18, Norton began sex trafficking her using Craigslist.

    "He groomed her to be a prostitute for him and he acted as a pimp," alleged Abbott.

    King County Metro said Norton was recently their Superintendent of Transit Security and Emergency Management and was just named Metro’s Interim Director of Facilities on Feb. 15.

    He'd been with the county agency for more than 8 years.

    In a statement Metro said in part, "We are shocked and deeply disturbed to learn of the allegations and are cooperating with investigators... We are conducting our own administrative investigation to determine if any additional or unrelated code of conduct violations may have occurred."

    "Ultimately it was determined the more serious crimes we can still charge for happened in Snohomish County," said Abbott, answering why the case was referred to the Snohomish County Prosecutors Office.

    Norton's family was in court for his probable cause hearing to support him.

    His father said he believes the accusations against his son are absolutely false and that he expects him to be "totally exonerated."

    He has not been charged.

    The judge, ordered Norton to have no contact with his accuser or even his own young children, while the prosecutor's office reviews the case for possible charges.

    "Detectives were able to develop probable cause to arrest the suspect and it's up to prosecutors office to file the charges," said Abbott about the potential for a charging decision.

    Metro said Norton is on unpaid administrative leave.

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