Kent teen pleads not guilty to two rape charges

A 16-year-old Kent boy pleaded not guilty Thursday to two counts of first-degree rape and two-counts of first-degree kidnapping with sexual motivation.

Chrisean Cressel entered his plea at King County Superior Court in Kent, according to the King County Prosecuting Attorney's Office. The charges are 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.

Cressel is in custody at the county jail at the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent with bail set at $1 million. He is scheduled to return to court Sept. 27 when a trial date could be set or attorneys could ask for more time to prepare the case.

A judge ruled Aug. 20 that Cressel should be tried as an adult. Because Cressel was 15 when the alleged rapes occurred, the Juvenile Court first handled the charges. Judge Barbara Mack ordered adult prosecution for the boy and declined the case, sending it to King County Superior 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.

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