State v. Skaggs

TEEN GETS 5 YEARS' PROBATION IN EXCHANGE FOR HIS PLEA OF GUILTY IN RAPES OF FOUR GIRLS

  • By Michelle Munz
  • Of The St. Charles County Post-Dispatch
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
  • February 26, 1999
  • Section: ST. CHARLES COUNTY POST
  • Edition: FIVE STAR LIFT
  • Page 1

Michael Skaggs has received five years' probation for raping four girls between August 1996 and February 1997, when the girls were 14 and 15 years old.

In a plea bargain with prosecutors, Skaggs agreed to plead guilty Thursday of raping the girls in exchange for probation.

Skaggs, 18, from O'Fallon, was certified to stand trial as an adult on the charges, which were filed when he was 16 years old. He was the first juvenile ever in St. Charles County accused of being a sexual predator.

Skaggs also pleaded guilty of raping another 14-year-old girl after he turned 17 and was sentenced to one year in the county jail. But he will not have to serve the sentence because he gets credit for time he already spent in jail awaiting trial. He was held in lieu of a $500,000 bond.

He must register as a sex offender, complete an 18-month psychiatric treatment program and stay away from the victims.

If he violates his probation, he faces a maximum of seven years in prison on each count, or 35 years.

The father of one of the victims said Skaggs deserved more time in jail. But, the father said, he's glad the girls will not have to undergo cross-examination in a trial and made to look as if it were their fault.

The case had no physical evidence, he said. It would just be their word against his.

"I think it's very unfair to victims in a rape case. The girls are actually the ones who are accused," he said. "I've become aware about why rapes aren't reported."

It took a year for four of the girls, who all attend Fort Zumwalt North High School, to report the incidents. They said they were scared.

The father said he has no doubt that Skaggs will violate his probation and wind up back in jail.

Skagg's attorney, Dan Juengel, said, "I have every reason to believe he will do good on probation. He was charged with forcible rape, and that's just not what the evidence panned out to be."

During a preliminary hearing in August, the girls testified that they told Skaggs "No" when he had sex with them at homes or parties. One girl said he forced her into a bathroom in a park in O'Fallon after a struggle and raped her on the floor.

upstairs.

The girl whom Skaggs raped when he was 17 said she had 10 shots of tequila when he and Chad Lindsey picked her up in a car while she was walking in her subdivision.

Lindsey, 17, was also charged with rape. He has pleaded guilty and will be sentenced April 17.

The father of one of the victims who spoke at the sentencing hearing said he was still concerned that Skaggs would try to contact the girls. He said they had heard Skaggs threatened "to beat the hell out of them" when he gets out.

Circuit Judge Ellsworth Cundiff told the father that if Skaggs has contact with one of the girls to immediately let him or Assistant Prosecuting Attorney Jim Gregory know.

Cundiff told the girls he was proud of them for coming forward. He also had a warning for Skaggs:

"If you happen to be in a store and see one these victims, I want you to turn around and run. . . . If you're real bright, you would stay out of St. Charles County."

AT HEARING, 4 TEEN GIRLS SAY BOY FORCED THEM TO HAVE SEX SUSPECT IS 1ST IN COUNTY FAMILY COURT ACCUSED OF BEING SEXUAL PREDATOR

  • By Michelle Munz
  • Of The St. Charles County Post-Dispatch
  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
  • August 19, 1998
  • Section: ST. CHARLES COUNTY POST
  • Edition: FIVE STAR LIFT
  • Page 1

Four girls, ages 15 to 17, testified Tuesday at a hearing about how they told Michael Skaggs "No." He pulled their pants down and forced them to have sex in incidents that took place about two years ago, they said.

Skaggs, 17, from O'Fallon, was charged June 8 with four counts of rape after being certified to stand trial as an adult on the charges. He was also charged earlier this year in a rape Feb. 18 of a 14-year-old girl, which occurred after his 17th birthday on Jan. 30.

That case is scheduled for trial next week but probably will be continued because prosecutors will try to consolidate the cases.

Of the 2,500 juveniles who go through the St. Charles County Family Court each year, about 15 to 20 are charged with sex offenses. Skaggs is the first to be accused of being a sexual predator.

After hearing testimony from the four teens, Associate Circuit Judge Nancy Schneider agreed that Skaggs should stand trial, but possibly not on all the charges. She said she will review her notes from the hearing and make a decision within a week.

One girl, now 16, said Skaggs raped her in the basement of her house when she was 14 while her stepfather, mother and younger brother were upstairs. She said they had been playing pool and Nintendo when he pushed her down on a bed, pulled her pants down, held her arms above her head and raped her.

Another girl, 16, testified that in the fall of 1996, she and Skaggs were at a party and he had asked her to go downstairs. They started kissing, but then he started to take her pants off. She put her head in her hand and paused, crying.

"I told him to stop," she said. "I asked him what he was doing." She said he was on top of her and she couldn't move.

A 17-year-old girl said that when she was 15, Skaggs raped her in the men's bathroom at a park in O'Fallon. She was there with a friend when they ran into Skaggs and his friend.

She said she was walking off in the park with Skaggs when he grabbed her arm and tried to pull her into the bathroom. She broke free, she said, and then he grabbed and carried her in the bathroom.

She said he put his hand over her mouth. He threw her on the floor and pulled down her shorts. "I was terrified to scream," she said. After he raped her, she said, he told her not to tell anyone or he would kill her.

A 16-year-old girl said that a year ago, Skaggs raped her in the lower level of his friend's apartment. She was there waiting on a friend.

He lay her on the bed, pulled her pant leg down and pushed her underpants to the side, she said. He held her arms over her head. She said she told him no, but then she said she probably could have gotten away under questioning from Skaggs' attorney, Daniel Juengel.

Under questioning from Juengel, all the girls said they did not scream out to others during the "sexual incident." They said they didn't try to scratch his face or kick him, but they tried to push him away.

The first girl who testified said Skaggs remained at her house after she said he raped her. They were "playing around" by wrestling, she said, and her stepfather eventually made him leave.

The girls, who all attend Fort Zumwalt North High School with Skaggs, said they did not report incidents until a year or more later because they were scared.

Skaggs, who was sitting across the courtroom facing the girls, would shake his head side to side during the testimony. Occasionally, he turned his head to look at the other girls and their families sitting in the audience. He also yawned and looked at the clock.