Officers arrest King County Metro employee suspected of sex trafficking
The King County Sheriff’s Office arrested 45-year-old Stanwood resident Mark Norton on Tuesday, who is suspected of coercing a woman to engage in commercial sex acts in King and Snohomish counties. Norton was recently named King County Metro’s interim Director of Facilities.
Officers believe Norton groomed the victim over years around 2008-2013 when the victim was a teenager and babysitting his kids. The suspect persuaded the victim to engage in sexual acts with him and eventually to move into his home, according to police.
Norton is then believed to have operated as a pimp and pressured the victim to engage in prostitution that he arranged online throughout Seattle, Lynnwood, and Everett.
Detectives believe Norton used emotional and psychological coercion to pressure the victim into prostitution, from which he kept the money.
Norton was arrested by King County Sheriff’s Officers in Stanwood on Tuesday and booked into Snohomish County Jail for investigation of trafficking. According to RCW 9A.40.100, trafficking is defined as “when a person recruits, harbors, or transports a person by coercion to engage in a sexually explicit act or a commercial sex act.”
King County Metro issued the following statement regarding the incident:
We are shocked and deeply disturbed to learn of the allegations and are cooperating with investigators. While in custody, this employee will be on unpaid leave, and we are exploring avenues to take immediate steps regarding this employee’s ongoing employment. Meanwhile, we are conducting our own administrative investigation to determine if any additional or unrelated code of conduct violations may have occurred.
Norton has been with Metro since 2010.