IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Accuser says he feared being teased by schoolmates

Boy told teacher he wasn't molested because he feared further taunting from peers
/ Source: The Associated Press

The teenage boy who says Michael Jackson molested him left the witness stand Tuesday after telling jurors that he denied the abuse to a school administrator because he was tired of the other kids making fun of him.

The conversation with the administrator occurred after the broadcast of a TV documentary that showed Jackson with the boy. In the documentary, the pop star acknowledged sharing his bed with children but characterized the practice as innocent.

The boy, now 15, testified he was harassed by schoolmates who said he had been “raped” by Jackson, and he got into fights as a result. He was then sent to see the school’s dean, who asked him whether Jackson had molested him.

“I told him that it didn’t happen,” the boy said. “All the kids were already making fun of me at the school and I didn’t want anyone to think it had really happened.”

The testimony came during questioning by District Attorney Tom Sneddon, just before the boy left the witness stand after four days. A day earlier, the defense got the teen to admit under cross-examination he told the school official nothing happened during stays at Jackson’s Neverland ranch.

Sneddon also sought to counter a video showed by Jackson attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. showing the boy saying Jackson “was like a father to me.” Sneddon asked the boy what he thinks of the pop star now.

No longer ‘the coolest guy’“I don’t really like him anymore,” the boy said. “I don’t really think he’s deserving of the respect I was giving him as the coolest guy in the world.”

Prosecutors claim the boy and his family were held captive for about a month at Neverland while Jackson used them to make a video rebutting the damaging TV documentary.

Under cross-examination, the boy said he did not take advantage of several opportunities to escape — during trips to the dentist and to go shopping at Toys R Us — because he did not want to leave.

“Those first few escapes you talked about — I liked being at Neverland. It was like Disneyland,” the boy said. The family left for good in March 2003.

He said even when the family left Neverland, Jackson employees kept a close eye on them. “They never wanted us to be in separate areas. They wanted us to be together,” he said.

Mesereau also asked the boy whether he knew he had until age 18 to file a civil lawsuit against Jackson and that winning a criminal conviction would help such a lawsuit. The boy said he was unaware of either issue.

Sheriff testifiesLater Tuesday, sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Robel, the lead investigator who first interviewed the boy and his family, showed items seized from Jackson’s ranch, including a black-and-white image of a nude woman and a sex magazine called Teenage, featuring a woman on the cover.

Under questioning by defense attorney Robert Sanger, Robel acknowledged he didn’t know of any witness who saw the items, and that they were not illegal. Sanger noted the black-and-white nude is a collector’s item.

Robel also acknowledged he encouraged the accuser’s family to go forward with its claims, telling them, “We’re going to try our best to make this case work,” saying such remarks were a way to reassure the family “because they were terrified when they came forward.”

“And from the beginning you have made a concerted effort to make this case work?” asked Sanger. “Yup, I did,” Robel answered.

Sanger also elicited several inconsistencies in the accuser’s statements — including the number of alleged molestations. The boy initially alleged Jackson had masturbated him five times.

“Your investigation disclosed on the (the family’s) last days at Neverland there were not five occasions when the molestation could have occurred,” Sanger asserted.

“No, that’s not correct,” said Robel, conceding there were “two or three days” when Jackson was not present. He also acknowledged that in the boy’s first interview, he gave different versions of when he was first molested.

As Jackson left court he was asked how he was doing and how he was feeling since the back injury he claimed to have suffered last week. “I’m doing pretty good,” he said. “I’m in pain.”