Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies arrested a Dunsmuir man for rape late Saturday. Shortly after 11 p.m., deputies conducted a vehicle investigation on a van parked on Old Highway 299, near Blue Lake. Deputies contact Benjamin Baszler, 25, who was seated inside the van. Baszler, a registered sex offender, said he had just finished “having sex” with the woman in the back of the van. Through the van windows, deputies saw a woman lying motionless. The woman did not respond when the deputies tapped on the windows. Baszler said the woman was sleeping. The deputies asked Baszler to open the sliding door so they could check on the woman’s welfare. Baszler agreed and opened the door. Deputies attempted to wake the woman but she was unresponsive. Deputies continued to try to wake the woman who eventually was able to open her eyes. The woman was disoriented and did not know Baszler or how she got inside his van.
Baszler, who had scratches on his face, told deputies he had been drinking alcoholic beverages in Arcata with the victim and another man. When the victim and the other man got into an argument the man left. Baszler said the victim was intoxicated so he helped the her walk to his van. He drove to Blue Lake and parked. He claimed the two had consensual sex but then admitted she was “asleep.”
There was evidence located inside the van that causes concern that there may additional victims. The Sheriff’s Office is releasing Baszler’s photograph in an effort to help in the investigation. Anyone wishing to, may contact the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at (707) 445-7251.