TULALIP — A security guard at Tulalip Resort Casino pleaded not guilty this week to sexually assaulting an intoxicated woman in her hotel room while he was on duty.
The woman, in her 30s, was drinking with coworkers on the night of Aug. 9, when her level of impairment became clear to security and a Tulalip police officer, who happened to be responding to a call.
Security officer Travis Sanderson, a supervisor, told another guard he’d escort the woman back to her hotel room, charging papers say. She was unsteady on her feet, so he walked with her arm-in-arm.
He used her key to open the door and went inside with her. Afterward he exited, spoke into his radio and took the elevator to the lobby.
Four minutes later, the woman exited the room in different clothes. She unsteadily made her way downstairs, distraught, saying the guard took advantage of her. At least three Tulalip police officers responded.
Sanderson, 28, told tribal police he’d been in the room for three to five minutes, and nothing sexual happened. He claimed the woman asked him to set her alarm clock for her, because she couldn’t. He reportedly said he turned around, saw the woman undressing and left the room.
A detective interviewed the woman days later. Some memories of the night were hazy, but she had no doubt she’d been sexually assaulted.
Police reviewed hotel key logs and security footage showing Sanderson was in the room with the woman for eight minutes.
In an interview at the police department, a detective confronted him about the disparity in the timeline, and informed Sanderson that the woman underwent a sexual assault exam. The exam can detect DNA.
Sanderson then admitted to the sexual contact, charging papers say. He claimed it was consensual.
Snohomish County prosecutors charged him with indecent liberties of a person who was incapable of consent. He pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday.
Sanderson’s attorney did not immediately respond to a voicemail Friday, and a tribal spokeswoman had no comment. The status of Sanderson’s employment was not clear.
Tribal police are separate from the casino’s security guards.
Charging papers allege Sanderson abused a position of authority. The judge ordered that while the case is ongoing, Sanderson can’t hold a security or police job, or any role where he’s a supervisor. He was released pending his next court hearing.
On social media, he wrote he’d been stationed at a military base on Oahu and taught jungle warfare classes on Okinawa.
After serving, he added, he hoped to become a state trooper.
Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; email@example.com. Twitter: @snocaleb.