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Kent teen accused of rapes to be tried in adult court
A judge ruled Monday to prosecute a 16-year-old Kent boy charged with rape in adult court.
Chrisean Cressel is scheduled to be arraigned at 9 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 30 in King County Superior Court in Kent on two counts of first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree kidnapping with sexual motivation in connection with attacks on a 17-year-old girl and a 19-year-old woman on separate nights in October on the East Hill along Kent-Kangley Road.
King County Superior Court Judge Barbara Mack announced her decision in Juvenile Court in Seattle, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. Mack listened to two days of testimony as well as closing arguments from prosecutors and defense attorneys about whether to try Cressel as an adult.
After the judge's ruling, prosecutors refiled the case Monday in adult court.
Because Cressel was 15 when the alleged rapes occurred, the Juvenile Court first handled the charges. Mack ordered adult prosecution for the boy and declined the case, sending it to King County Superior Court rather than Juvenile Court.
Under Washington state law, an offender who commits a serious violent offense is automatically charged in adult court if they are 16 or 17 years old when the alleged crime occurred. Cressel turned 16 in March.
If convicted in Juvenile Court, the teen would have been incarcerated up to his 21st birthday, according to prosecutors. The minimum sentence in adult court is 28 to 36 years in prison with a potential maximum sentence of up to life in prison.
Prosecutors asked the judge to try the teen as an adult. Cressel attended Kentwood High School in Covington, where Kent Police arrested him Nov. 7.
In each incident, Cressel reportedly approached the woman and the girl after they had exited a bus, according to charging papers. The boy allegedly told the woman and the girl he had a gun and threatened to shoot them if they did not cooperate and go with him to a secluded spot. He reportedly raped both women while continuing to threaten them with what he said was a gun.
The girl and woman provided similar descriptions of the teen. Kent Police released sketches of the suspect. The drawings generated a number of tips that helped detectives track down Cressel.
Detectives said state crime lab investigators matched DNA from Cressel with evidence collected from each rape victim.