A 53-year-old Puyallup man will spend six years to life in prison after pleading guilty to an attempted child rape charge stemming from a Washington State Patrol sex sting.
Kris Keith Bennett pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree attempted child rape and one count of first-degree possession of depictions of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct earlier this year. He was sentenced by Judge Mary Sue Wilson on Monday in Thurston County Superior Court.
Bennett was arrested in September in Tumwater after responding to an online ad regarding sex with minors. The ad had been posted by detectives pretending to be a mother with a 13-year-old son and two daughters, ages 6 and 11.
In text messages to the detectives, Bennett indicated he wanted to have sexual contact with the girls, and would like the older girl to wear a Barbie nightgown, according to court documents.
The child pornography charge is from a King County case, and dates to before the child rape arrest, Deputy Prosecutor Craig Juris said Monday.
During Monday’s hearing, Bennett pleaded to the judge for leniency through a written statement, read aloud by his attorney Paul Strophy.
He wrote in the statement that putting him in prison for years wouldn’t make the lesson “clearer or stronger,” and described the detrimental impacts that publicity surrounding the case had on his life.
“I’m human and made two mistakes in my life,” Bennett wrote.
Stropy said that Bennett “wasn’t feeling 100 percent mentally and physically” when he made the decision to respond to the ad — although that didn’t excuse his behavior. He had been in a car crash that morning.
Wilson accepted the attorneys’ joint sentencing recommendation of six years, four months to life in prison. She said that although there hadn’t been real victims in the attempted child rape, the effects would have been serious had the victims been real.
“Serious crimes require consequences,” Wilson said.
Bennett is one of 23 people arrested in the Washington State Patrol sting, said Kyle Moore, a spokesman for the agency. He is the sixth person to plead guilty to charges related to the sting.
▪ Nathan Ahman Vahanian of Bucoda pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree attempted rape of a child. He was sentenced in March to five years to life in prison.
▪ Troy Eugene Dubes of Lacey pleaded guilty to one count of second-degree attempted rape of a child. His sentencing is scheduled for June.
▪ Joseph Michael Schoneck of Tumwater pleaded guilty in March to second-degree attempted rape of a child and unlawful possession of methamphetamine. He is scheduled to be sentenced in May.
▪ Daniel John Masters of Lake Stevens pleaded guilty to second-degree attempted rape of a child. He was sentenced in April to five years to life in prison.
The other suspects arrested from the sting are still awaiting trial.