Tulalip Casino Security Guard Avoids Imprisonment for Sex Assault on Customer

Posted on: August 10, 2023, 02:33h. 

Last updated on: August 11, 2023, 12:02h.

A former security guard at the Tulalip Resort Casino in Washington State who admitted to committing a serious sexual assault on a female customer while on duty will probably avoid imprisonment, The Everett Herald reports.

Tulalip Resort Casino, Travis Sanderson, Washington State
The Tulalip Resort Casino in Washington State where the admitted assault took place. Former security guard Travis Sanderson pleaded guilty to gross misdemeanor fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation Wednesday. (Image: Indian Gaming Magazine)

Travis Sanderson, a former U.S. Marine, was previously charged with felony second-degree rape in relation to the incident, which allegedly occurred on Aug. 9, 2018, at the resort.

The Tulalip Resort Casino is owned by the Tulalip Tribes of Washington and is based on the tribal reservation in Snohomish County, about 35 miles north of Seattle.

Suspended Sentence

Sanderson’s trial was first delayed by COVID and then procedural issues. In June, a nine-day trial on the rape charges resulted in a “hopelessly deadlocked” jury, according to The Herald.

On Wednesday, Sanderson pleaded guilty to fourth-degree assault with sexual motivation, a gross misdemeanor.

Snohomish County Superior Court Judge Karen Moore gave him a suspended jail sentence of one year. This means he will be on probation for the next 24 months, but won’t serve jail time unless he reoffends.

Surveillance Footage

On the night of the admitted assault, Sanderson told his colleagues he would escort an inebriated woman back to her room at the casino’s hotel. The victim had been drinking with coworkers and was visibly unable to walk, according to court documents.

He opened the door to the room using the victim’s key and then remained in her room for eight minutes before returning to the casino, according to footage from a security camera in the hallway.

Four minutes later, the camera showed the victim emerging from the room wearing different clothes. She made her way to the lobby, where, distraught, she reported that Sanderson had assaulted her.

When police arrived, Sanderson denied assaulting the woman. He told responding officers he had been in the room for between three and five minutes because the woman had asked him to set her alarm clock. He claimed he turned around and saw her undressing, and then left the room.

Story Changed

Sanderson later changed his tune after the victim underwent a sexual assault examination, admitting that sexual contact had occurred, but claiming it was consensual.

Prosecutors initially charged Sanderson in December 2018 with a felony charge of indecent liberties with a person who was incapable of consent. This was later amended to the rape charge.

Judge Moore described Wednesday’s ruling as an “appropriate resolution to put this very old case to rest.”