ODOR IN THE COURT

IT TOOK COURAGE FOR THE DEAF GIRL TO ALLEGE RAPE. SHE WAS REWARDED WITH AN UNPREPARED PROSECUTOR WHO BUNGLED THE CASE.

Ironwood officials finally expelled Skillman during the 1992-93 school year. He enrolled at Moon Valley High School. In his year there, two girls complained that he'd pawed and rubbed up against them.

A new set of school officials urged Skillman to seek counseling. It's not known if he did. He graduated from Moon Valley High in May 1993.

Xavier Skillman enrolled in the fall of 1993 at Glendale Community College, where he joined the track team.

He also quickly reestablished his reputation as "Molester Man."
In October 1993, a co-ed told Glendale police that Skillman, an acquaintance, approached her in the GCC parking lot. He put his arms around her, pinned her against a truck and started to grind against her. He stopped only after she yelled and elbowed him in the ribs.

That month, another GCC student told Glendale police something that resembled the story Kim Bradley would tell months later.

The student--we'll call her Cathy--said Skillman, a classmate, asked her for a ride home, supposedly to pick up a backpack. Cathy asked a friend to tag along. At the house, Skillman told Cathy he wanted to show her something alone upstairs. Once there, she claimed, he pushed her against a wall and performed his pelvic-thrust routine. Cathy said he released her after a struggle.

On October 13, Glendale police arrested Skillman on the GCC campus. A judge released him from jail as the investigation continued.

GCC suspended Skillman pending an evaluation by school psychologist Bruce Thomas. The conclusions were prescient. Thomas told school officials that Skillman's "anger and rage would continue to manifest itself until Xavier received ongoing intensive treatment. I said his behavior of sexually abusing women would continue and progress . . ."

Skillman withdrew from GCC on October 19, 1993.
He would have one more documented brush with Glendale police before he met Kim Bradley.

In January 1994, a young woman complained to police that a tall black man had accosted her at a Glendale fitness center. She said the man had hounded her, even after she'd repeatedly rebuffed his advances.

The man went away for a time, then reappeared at the Jacuzzi and yanked her onto his lap. She escaped his grasp and ran toward the women's locker room. The man ran after her and shoved her against a wall. She said he'd held her arms above her shoulders while grinding his pelvis against hers.

Luckily, she told detectives, a male passerby had prevented further harm--her attacker retreated.

She later identified her assailant as Skillman. On February 3, 1994, Glendale police again arrested him, on charges of kidnaping and sexual abuse. A grand jury indicted him.

Skillman spent nine days in jail before a judge released him to the custody of his attorney, Reginald Cooke.

What's up
It's me
The X A V I E R
Gone completely crazy
What's up
It's me
The muthafuckin' me
Trying to find out why
It's always me
Who can't do shit
Always fuckin' up
Starting to be frustrated and fuckin' stressed
Wonder why I regress in pursuit of being the best
Everytime something good happens
Some bad is right behind
Why is my happiness so hard to find
Shit, I don't know what to do
All the girls are taken
I'm all alone too
No one to talk to because parents just don't understand
Now it's time to become a man
And take command
--excerpt from Xavier Skillman's undated notebook,
seized after his arrest in July 1994

Xavier Skillman denied everything after Glendale police arrested him on suspicion of raping Kim Bradley.

He told detective Whitson he hadn't had sex that day, hadn't even left his house, and didn't know his alleged victim.

Skillman was booked into the county jail--without bond.
That night, police executed a warrant and searched the Skillman residence. It appeared much the same as Kim Bradley had described it. Investigators also found a note in Kim's handwriting, which refuted his claim that he didn't know her.

On July 27, 1994, a grand jury indicted Skillman on three new felony charges--two for sexual assault and one for kidnaping. Like the earlier case involving the young women, it was assigned to deputy county attorney John Beatty.

Prosecuting sex crimes is not for the weak of heart. To a person, the ten deputy county attorneys who work such crimes put in endless hours, on rugged, gut-wrenching cases.

John Beatty was a very busy man in 1994. He went to trial more than any of his peers in the sex-crimes unit, finishing with eight guilty verdicts, three not guilty and one hung jury.

He also earned letters of commendation for his rapport with victims and their families.

"I hope that this case will inspire you to go forward with renewed energy," the mother of a rape victim wrote Beatty last May.

Such recognition makes Beatty's failures in the Xavier Skillman case even more puzzling.

"I have to take some of the responsibility for what happened," says sex-crimes bureau chief Cindi Nannetti. "He's a very good worker, absolutely dedicated. And though his case load is very heavy, I've detected no sign of burnout in him. But in hindsight, I should have discussed his case load with him more carefully."

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