Rape cases land former WSU player in prison

Published: Saturday, May 6 2000 12:00 a.m. MDT

OGDEN (AP) -- Former Weber State basketball player Damien Baskerville was sentenced to five years in prison for his role in two rape cases.

"It's difficult to watch individuals in this amount of pain," 2nd District Judge Pamela Heffernan said after a three-hour, tear-filled sentencing hearing Thursday.Baskerville's relatives from Detroit, Nashville and Pittsburgh described him as a high school basketball star who never got into legal trouble until moving to Utah.

His two victims told how Baskerville shattered their lives.

Baskerville, 22, was charged in the April 11, 1999, rape of a 23-year-old Roy woman with whom he had a sexual relationship. He also was charged in the Aug. 24, 1999, rape of a woman whom Baskerville had offered a ride home from an Ogden restaurant.

He pleaded no contest to three third-degree felonies in the two cases, including two counts of attempted forcible sexual abuse and one count of witness tampering.

Psychological tests showed Baskerville has a bipolar disorder, which the defense said fogged his ability to consider consequences.

"It doesn't excuse, but it explains his conduct," defense attorney John Caine said. One of the victims testified her life was wrecked.

"I would rather die, I think, than go through this again," the woman said. "When you die, you don't have to deal with the after-effects. I think he should go to prison and stay there, as far as I'm concerned, forever."

The other victim said before the attack, she was a 19-year-old with her own apartment and job. Now she said she takes three medications for anxiety and depression, lost her job and lives with her parents.

Heffernan said she was disturbed that, while awaiting trial on one charge, Baskerville committed the same offense again.

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