Kessler Lichtenegger, the former SM East student who had been charged as an adult earlier this year on six counts including rape or intercourse with no consent, pleaded guilty Wednesday morning to two amended charges. He will be sentenced in October.
In the plea agreement, four of the six original charges were dropped and two were amended down to attempted rape and attempted electronic solicitation with a child under 14. The charges are both felonies.
Assistant District Attorney Jason Covington said Lichtenegger could be sentenced from 55 months to 247 months in prison for the felonies, according to guidelines. The plea agreement does contain a recommended sentence, Covington said, but it will be up to the judge to make the final determination.
Lichtenegger is still in custody in Johnson County and appeared again Wednesday in an orange jail jumpsuit and shackled. He told Judge Charles Droege that he understood the plea agreement and was waiving his rights to a trial to plead guilty to the amended charges.
Prosecutors identified the victims by initials and said they lived in Lenexa. Lichtenegger lived in Prairie Village at the time of the two incidents in the summer of 2014 that led to the charges. Lichtenegger was involved in another incident in 2011 while at SM East that led to court actions.
Prosecutors reading the basis for the charges said Lichtenegger had contacted the first victim by Facebook and engaged in an overt act of sexual contact with the intent for intercourse with a girl under 14. Later that summer, he contacted the second victim, also under 14, by phone with the intent to engage in intercourse, they read.
An affidavit released in April suggests the most recent charges were set in motion when an 11-year-old Johnson County girl’s father saw her exchanging Facebook messages with Lichtenegger in August of 2014. Lichtenegger was charged as an adult in late March, the same month he turned 18.
Lichtenegger is expected to be credited with time already served. He has been in jail since turning 18 and being charged in adult court in April. He told the judge Wednesday that he had completed high school. Lichtenegger also was told Wednesday that he will be required to register as a sex offender.