BERKELEY -- A 21-year-old Berkeley man is facing three sexual assault charges after he allegedly tried to rape a woman on a city street last weekend and then sexually assaulted two other females, police said.
Michael Anthony Skinner was charged with assault with intent to commit rape, attempted robbery, two counts of sexual battery and a probation violation following attacks on three women on the evening of Nov. 9, police said.
He was on probation for grand theft and remains in Santa Rita Jail on $300,000 bail.
At about 5:40 p.m., police said Skinner grabbed an 18-year-old woman as she was walking in the 2200 block of Bancroft Way and forced her to the sidewalk, striking her several times. Police said it appeared Skinner intended to sexually assault the woman. A pedestrian rushed to the woman's aid and chased the suspect away.
That night, Skinner was located and detained in the 2000 block of Allston Way. While he was in custody, two other women reported incidents of sexual battery that appeared to involve Skinner, police said.
Police said an 18-year-old woman who was walking in the area of Telegraph Avenue and Bancroft Way about 5:15 p.m. Nov. 9 was also attacked by Skinner, who tried to block her way and then reached under her skirt and touched her inappropriately. He tried to take her purse but was unsuccessful and ran away.
Also that evening, between 5:15 p.m. and 5:40 p.m. a 21-year-old woman was walking in the 2200 block of Bancroft Way when police said Skinner grabbed her buttocks. The suspect was confronted by the victim's companion and became aggressive and took a fight stance. The victim and her friend left and called police.
Though physical descriptions differ, police will look at whether Skinner could be linked to similar incidents between September 2008 and Feb. 28, 2009. During the time, a sexual predator in dark clothing terrorized women on the south side of the UC Berkeley campus, sneaking up behind them, lifting their skirts and touching them. He always covered his face and head with a dark sweatshirt or jacket and quickly ran away on foot. He struck 20 times in six months and then the incidents stopped, but an arrest was never made.
Police urge anyone with information about any of these cases to contact the sex crimes unit at 510-981-5734 or the nonemergency line at 510-981-5900. Callers can remain anonymous or call the Bay Area Crime Stoppers Tip Line at 800-222-8477.
Follow Kristin J. Bender at Twitter.com/kjbender.