Battle Creek area man enters plea in teen trail attack

Allen French's mug shot.

BEDFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A Battle Creek area man accused of sexually assaulting a teenager as she walked home from school has taken a plea deal.

Allen French pleaded no contest to first-degree kidnapping and criminal sexual conduct on Thursday, according to the Calhoun County Circuit Court. In turn, prosecutors agreed he wouldn’t be sentenced consecutively.

French entered his plea almost a year to the day of the alleged attack near Steuben and Collier avenues in Bedford Township, northwest of Battle Creek.

The victim told police she was heading home from school on May 23, 2016 when she heard a twig snap and saw the suspect approaching her on the wooded trail behind her home.

The teenager told officers the masked 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 near the trail.

The victim was partially clothed as she ran to her home and called 911, police said.

The victim recognized the suspect as a mushroom hunter who was often in the area. A road patrol officer identified French and took him in for questioning.