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Police arrest man in rape of jogger at east-side park

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Tuesday, July 8, 2014, at 12:09 p.m.

Police have arrested a man linked to the rape of a jogger at an east Wichita park last month.

The 44-year-old man was detained and questioned after someone reported a suspicious character at Eastview Park on June 23, Lt. Randy Reynolds said. That was 10 days after the rape was reported at the park next to 13th and Governeour, which is adjacent to Coleman Middle School and between Woodlawn and Rock Road.

Forensic evidence linked the suspect to the assault, Reynolds said. Police and jail records identify him as Benton Gene Baskin. He was arrested shortly after 1 p.m. Monday at Murdock and Battin, police records show.

The 31-year-old victim did not know her attacker, Reynolds said.

“This is somewhat rare,” he said of a rape involving strangers. “Fortunately, we don’t have very many of these happen in this city.”

The woman was jogging on a path at about 3 p.m. on June 13 when a man approached her armed with a knife, Reynolds said. She was taken to some nearby bushes and sexually assaulted.

“This young lady was just jogging down the path like anybody should be able to do without fear of anything,” Reynolds said.

She was taken to a local hospital for treatment and assessment, and Reynolds lauded the nurses and the Sedgwick County Regional Forensic Science Center for their work in the case.

Baskin was booked on two probation violations. He is suspected of rape, aggravated criminal sodomy and aggravated kidnapping. He is being held on bonds totaling $350,000.

“We do not have any other sexual assaults of this nature in that area,” Reynolds said of the park.

Sedgwick County District Court records indicate Baskin was charged last year with aggravated battery and domestic battery. He pleaded guilty to domestic battery and was sentenced to six months of probation plus participation in a batterers intervention program. The aggravated battery charge was dropped.

Reynolds said evidence in the rape case will be presented to the Sedgwick County District Attorney’s Office later this week.

Reach Stan Finger at 316-268-6437 or sfinger@wichitaeagle.com. Follow him on Twitter: @StanFinger.

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