Police suspect string of date rapes in Basalt | AspenTimes.com

Police suspect string of date rapes in Basalt

A 20-year-old Basalt man is being questioned by police for a series of date rapes where he allegedly took advantage of teenage girls at parties.

“What we’re investigating is multiple sexual assaults of juveniles, possibly related to drugs,” said Basalt Police Detective Steve Wilson. “It’s kind of a date rape, but with drugs.”

The suspect’s name hasn’t been released because he hasn’t been arrested. However, Basalt police successfully sought a warrant last week that forced the suspect to provide samples of hair and blood.

Those samples have been sent to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation lab along with samples from at least one victim. If the samples match, the suspect will be arrested, said Wilson.

Police believe there are at least three victims. Two are cooperating with investigators while one has declined to participate, according to Wilson. He has been told by victims and witnesses that there may be two other potential victims – boosting the total to five – but he hasn’t verified that information.

All victims are between the ages of 15 and 16, according to police.

Recommended Stories For You

In each of the various cases, the suspect was allegedly partying with the girls in a Basalt residence. Wilson said he is investigating reports that ecstasy and other drugs were provided to victims along with alcohol.

He first suspected that Rohypnol, a drug commonly used in date rapes, was used but has since ruled it out. A similar drug, which knocks people unconscious, may have been used.

“He is getting them stoned out of their gourd, then taking advantage of them,” Wilson said.

One of the victims contacted police in Glenwood Springs Monday, May 6. Officers there forwarded the case to Wilson and assisted with gathering information.

Since then, Wilson and other Basalt officers have scrambled to get three search warrants and the warrant to force the suspect to provide samples.

Police obtained a warrant to search the Basalt home of the suspect May 7. The suspect cooperated with efforts to obtain the samples.

The suspect was released after he provided the samples because there is currently no charge he could be held on, Wilson said. But potential evidence critical to the case has been collected.

“Now I’ve got what I want for forensic evidence,” he said.

A second house, located in Sopris Village, was searched on suspicion that one of the occupants may have been supplying drugs to the rape case suspect, according to Wilson. No drugs were found.

No information was available on the third search warrant.

A separate arrest was made by Basalt police May 8 in connection with the case, but not for sexual assault. Jasen Duggan, 19, of Basalt, was arrested on suspicion of intimidating a witness, police said.

According to an arrest warrant affidavit filed by Wilson, Duggan allegedly threatened a victim in the case when she called his residence trying to reach his female roommate. The victim and Duggan’s roommate are friends, and the victim was trying to encourage her to talk to police about the sexual assault she may have witnessed, Wilson said.

When the victim called, the telephone was answered by Duggan. He allegedly called her a derogatory name and told her to leave town “because she was going to get her ass kicked,” the affidavit said.

Similar threats were allegedly repeated by Duggan later that day to both the victim and the witness. When contacted by Wilson on May 7, Duggan said he wasn’t threatening the girls directly, only warning them that another man was angry with them.

Neither the identity of the other man nor his motive for being angry was disclosed in the arrest affidavit. Duggan was arrested May 8. He is being held in Pitkin County Jail on $2,500 bond for the felony charge of intimidating the witness.

Wilson said a possible arrest in the sexual assault cases depends on the speed of work by the CBI crime lab. No arrest is likely until the lab tests for a match in the evidence collected from a victim and the suspect.