The door to a laundry room supply closet was slightly ajar, and the padlock was dangling open. Inside, Xavier R. Leach, accompanied by a teenage girl, was hiding behind the door — no small trick, considering Xavier Leach stands six-foot-five and weighs in at 394 pounds.
The girl, a witness later told police, had “a nervous look on her face.”
It was Leach, 24, who should have been nervous. The Martin County Sheriff’s Office later determined that, beginning at 9:10 p.m. inside the closet at Martin Girls Academy, Leach had sex with a 17-year-old foster child, bending her over a sink.
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In August 2011, Leach was convicted of two counts of sexual abuse. The encounter in the closet was apparently not his first with an underage detainee. He was stalking girls at the academy for a year or more.
Leach is serving a 12-year sentence and is expected to be released in 2021.
His undoing came on Nov. 15, 2010, when another staff member tried to enter the laundry supply closet. Leach was in charge during the night shift. The girl was set to be released the next morning.
The detainee said Leach “ask[ed] me did I want to do it because it’s my last day here.”
It was not the first time they’d had sex in the laundry closet, the girl told police.
Startled by the interruption from his subordinate, Leach clumsily completed the sex act. He had to quickly mop the floor after ejaculating. The employee found Leach disheveled, with his belt buckle open, and his shirt hanging out. He asked the colleague to take the teen to a day room to watch television.
Leach told police the encounter was “consensual,” and admitted he “did not use protection.”
A police investigation turned up other possible victims. One told a detective that Leach had approached her in the recreation yard the previous February and offered to get her a Popsicle. In exchange, he wanted sex.
A girl told the detective that Leach “was constantly asking her to have sex with him,” and that she “finally gave in to him.”
Yet another teen, on conditional release from the academy, called a Martin Girls technician in December of 2010 to report that she had given birth to Leach’s baby. The technician told supervisors the girl texted her a photo of an infant.
She had called before — and the technician had told her to stop doing so. But on this particular day, the girl “started crying, claiming that she gave birth to a baby.”
However, when DJJ investigators contacted the girl, she denied making the allegations, and the report closed the case as “unsubstantiated.” The short narrative makes no mention of whether anyone tried to determine whether there actually was a baby — and who was recorded as the father.
This narrative is part of Tales from the Front, a collection of short stories about Florida's juvenile justice system. Read the full "Fight Club" investigative series here.