BCPD: Trail attack suspect may be responsible for other crimes

Teen victim recognized attacker as mushroom hunter

Allen French's mug shot.

BEDFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — Battle Creek police are trying to determine if a man accused of raping a teenager at gunpoint on a trail is responsible for several similar crimes.

Allen French, 31, is charged with first-degree criminal sexual conduct in connection with Monday’s alleged attack.

Police said the crime happened Monday near Steuben and Collier avenues in Bedford Township, northwest of Battle Creek.

Allen French is arraigned via video from the Calhoun County Jail. (May 24, 2016)
Allen French is arraigned via video from the Calhoun County Jail. (May 24, 2016)

The victim told police she was heading home from school on a wooded trail behind her home when she heard a twig snap and saw the suspect approaching her from behind.

The teenager told officers the man forced her to the ground, pointed a gun at her and forced her to have sex with him. After the attack, police said the suspect “casually” left the scene on a bicycle, which was later found at French’s home.

The victim was partially clothed as she ran to her home and called 911, according to Maj. Jim Grafton of the Battle Creek Police Department.

“Through that trauma and through that heinous crime, she was able to give us a great description. It’s because of her and her ability to articulate to us exactly what happened, and with the description she provided we were able to identify this individual,” said Grafton.

According to the criminal complaint, the suspect was wearing a bandanna at the time of the attack. However, the victim recognized the suspect as mushroom hunter who was often in the area when she would take the trail to and from her home to the school bus.

Grafton said a road patrol officer identified French and took him in for questioning.

Records show French lives about a mile from the trail in a home with his brother, who is a registered sex offender. Police searched his home. A K-9 helped police determine where the attack took place so they could collect evidence from the scene. Grafton said they’re still looking for the weapon used in the attack.

French said he didn’t own a gun during his arraignment Tuesday afternoon.

Grafton said detectives have identified two other similar cases involving French, however he’s never been charged.

According to records obtained by 24 Hour News 8, French was arrested by Battle Creek police in April 2008 on a felony larceny charge. He pleaded guilty to breaking into a vehicle to steal less than $200 worth of property a month later. French was sentenced to six months of probation for the offense.

A judge Tuesday denied bond for French, who remains in the Calhoun County jail.

Police are asking any other potential victims of French to call 269.962.0896.

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