Michael Jackson's Child Molestation Charges
Here we go again. Michael Jackson is facing charges he molested a child at his Neverland Ranch. Before we take a look at these most recent charges, let's recap what happened ten years ago.
In 1993, a 13-year-old boy accused Michael Jackson of sexual molestation. Jackson had befriended the boy in 1992. Soon the boy became a regular guest at Jackson's Neverland Ranch in Santa Ynez, California. Jackson gave the boy gifts and paid for several vacation trips around the world. In 1993, the boy started to spend the night at Jackson's residence. This was not unusual as Jackson would often have children sleep over at his Neverland Ranch. According to the allegations, Jackson had kissed and fondled the boy while they were alone in bed. Allegedly, this repeatedly took place during a four-month period.
At the suggestion of the boy's father, a civil lawsuit was filed in 1993. Jackson denied the accusations. He continued to tour and make public appearances. The boy's father talked to the Jackson camp about a financial settlement while the police continued their investigation. On January 25, 1994, Michael Jackson settled the civil lawsuit paying an undisclosed amount to his accuser. Many believe that he paid between 15 and 20 million dollars. After receiving the settlement, the boy refused to testify in any criminal matters. Therefore, the prosecution was not able to pursue a criminal case.
On December 22, 1993, Jackson gave the following videotaped statement from his Neverland Ranch
"I am doing well and I am strong. As you may already know, after my tour ended I remained out of the country undergoing treatment for a dependancy on pain medication. This medicine was initially prescribed to soothe the excruciating pain that I was suffering after recent reconstructive surgery on my scalp. There have been many disgusting statements made recently concerning allegations of improper conduct on my part. These statements about me are totally false. As I have maintained from the very beginning, I am hoping for a speedy end to this horrifying experience to which I have been subjected. I shall not in this statement respond to all the false allegations being made against me since my lawyers have advised me that this is not the proper forum in which to do that. I will say I am particularly upset by the handling of this matter by the incredible, terrible mass media. At every opportunity, the media has dissected and manipulated these allegations to reach their own conclusion. I ask all of you to wait to hear the truth before you label or condemn me. Don't treat me like a criminal because I am innocent. I have been forced to submit to a dehumanizing and humiliating examination by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's department and the Los Angeles Police Department earlier this week. They served a search warrant on me which allowed them to view and photograph my body, including my penis, my buttocks, my lower torso, thighs and any other areas that they wanted. They were supposedly looking for any discoloration, spotting or other evidence of a skin color disorder called vitiligo which I have previously spoken about. The warrant also directed me to cooperate in any examination of my body by their physician to determine the condition of my skin, including whether I have vitiligo or any other skin disorder. The warrant further stated that I had no right to refuse the examination or photographs and if I failed to cooperate with them they would introduce that refusal at any trial as an indication of my guilt. It was the most humiliating ordeal of my life, one that no person should ever have to suffer. And even after experiencing the indignity of this search, the parties involved were still not satisfied and wanted to take even more pictures. It was a nightmare, a horrifying nightmare. But if this is what I have to endure to prove my innocence, my complete innocence, so be it. Throughout my life, I have only tried to help thousands upon thousands of children to live happy lives. It brings tears to my eyes when I see any child who suffers. I am not guilty of these allegations. But if I am guilty of anything it is of giving all that I have to give to help children all over the world. It is of loving children of all ages and races, it is of gaining sheer joy from seeing children with their innocent and smiling faces. It is of enjoying through them the childhood that I missed myself. If I am guilty of anything, it is of believing what God said about children, 'Suffer little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for such is the kingdom of heaven.' In no way do I think that I am God, but I do try to be Godlike in my heart. I am totally innocent of any wrongdoing and I know these terrible allegations will all be proven false. Again, to my friends and fans, thank you very much for all of your support. Together we will see this through to the very end. I love you very much and may God bless you all. I love you. Goodbye."
The very first thing we notice is that Jackson never said, "I didn't do it" or specifically deny the allegations. That is something we would expect an innocent person to say. Let's examine the denials Jackson does make.
"There have been many disgusting statements made recently concerning allegations of improper conduct on my part. These statements about me are totally false." All Jackson is telling us is that recently made allegations are false. We know how the press can be and how rumors get started. I am sure there were some allegations concerning Jackson that were not true. However, Jackson is not referring to every allegation made. He is only talking about "disgusting statements made recently." He is only denying those statements which he considered disgusting and which were recently made. The boy's allegations were made public several months before Jackson gave this statement. It appears Jackson is not referring to the accuser's allegations since they were not recently made.
"As I have maintained from the very beginning, (Here is the perfect opportunity for Jackson to issue a denial but instead he goes on to say) I am hoping for a speedy end to this horrifying experience to which I have been subjected."
"I ask all of you to wait to hear the truth before you label or condemn me. Don't treat me like a criminal because I am innocent." This sounds like a good denial. However, stating that you are innocent is not stating that you did not do it. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty. Jackson tells us not to make any rash judgements, but wait until all the evidence is presented. Think about it though. Why should we wait? An innocent person would not want you to wait. He would want you to believe right now that he did not commit this crime. If Jackson would come out and say "I didn't do it," I might believe him and label him as innocent, but he hasn't said that. Furthermore, the truth never did come out because Jackson chose to settle this case. We are still waiting to hear the truth.
"The warrant further stated that I had no right to refuse the examination or photographs and if I failed to cooperate with them they would introduce that refusal at any trial as an indication of my guilt." Think of how you would phrase this statement in reference to guilt or innocence. Most innocent people would state, "They would introduce that refusal at any trial as an indication that I am guilty." In this statement, the authorities believe the person is guilty because of his refusal to cooperate. The way Jackson words it ("my guilt") it sounds as if he is talking about something that he, not the authorities, has already established. Pronouns show possession.
"I am not guilty of these allegations." This still falls short of saying "I didn't do it." Legally, no one is guilty until they are proven guilty.
"I am totally innocent of any wrongdoing and I know these terrible allegations will all be proven false." Again we have him claiming he is innocent which is technically true. He is "innocent of any wrongdoing." Jackson may have done things which he does not consider to be wrong. This would also allow him to say he is innocent. A better statement would have been, "I am innocent of molesting this boy." In hindsight, we can see these allegations were not proven false, as Jackson claimed they would be, because he settled the case.
On June 14, 1995, Michael Jackson and his wife Lisa Marie Presley were interviewed by Diane Sawyer on Prime Time Live. The interview started discussing their recent marriage. Sawyer then turned her questions to the 1993 child molestation allegations. Listed below are excerpts from the interview.
Sawyer: [Addressing Michael] Well because I know that you've wanted to express similar sentiments
for a long time, I want to ask a few things about the charges. But first I want to establish
for the viewers here, there are no ground rules. You have said to me you are not afraid of any
questions. So, I wanted that understood by everybody before we proceed. I think I want to begin
by making sure that the terms are clear. You have said you would never harm a child. I want to be
as specific as I can. Did you ever, as this young boy said you did, did you ever sexually engage,
fondle, have sexual contact with this child, or any other child?
Jackson: Never, ever. I could never harm a child, or anyone. It's not in my heart, it's not who I am. And it's not what I'm - I'm not even interested in that.
Sawyer, like many journalists, makes the mistake of asking a compound question. Jackson says, "Never, ever" but which question is he answering? Is he telling us he has never fondled this child? Or, is he telling us he has never fondled any other child? Maybe he is referring to never having sexual contact. Some might say he is answering all of the questions. However, we don't know. Based on the rest of his answer, "I could never harm a child" it appears Jackson is answering, 'Never, ever harm a child." He was never asked if he harmed a child. He was specifically asked about sexual contact with the boy or any other children. Jackson did not answer the specific question. Not answering the question means there is something he does not want to tell us.
The word "even" shows a contrast of ideas. The shortest sentence is the best sentence; "I'm not interested in that." Just before making this denial stumbles in his language, "And it's not what I'm - I'm not..."
Sawyer: And what do you think should be done to someone who does that?
Jackson: To someone who does that? What I think should be done? Gee, I think they need help, in some kind of way, you know.
Here we have Jackson answering the question with two questions. He wasn't looking for clarification because he does not wait for Sawyer to answer his questions. Answering a question with a question usually means the person is stalling for time to think about how he should answer the question. This tells us this was a sensitive question for Jackson.
Michael Jackson loves children. In his December 22, 1993 statement, Jackson said, "It brings tears to my eyes when I see any child who suffers." You would think Jackson like most people would be outraged with someone who molested a child. You would think he would want some type of punishment for the person who would do such a terrible thing. His response, "Gee, I think they need help" does not show that. We have to wonder why he is showing sympathy towards a child molester.
Sawyer: Why did you settle the case then?
Jackson: The whole thing is a lie.
Sawyer: Why did you settle the case? And, it looks to everyone as if you paid a huge amount of money...
Jackson: That's, that's, most of that's folklore. I talked to my lawyers, and I said, "Can you guarantee me, that justice will prevail?" And they said, "Michael, we cannot guarantee you that a judge, or a jury will do anything." And with that I was catatonic. I was outraged!
Sawyer: How much money...
Jackson: Totally outrageous. So, I said, I have to do something to get out from under this nightmare. All these lies and all these people coming forth to get paid and all these tabloid shows, just lies, lies, lies, lies. So what I did, we got together again with my advisors and they advised me. It was hands down unanimous decision - resolve the case. This could be something that could go on for seven years!
Sawyer: How much money was...
Jackson: We said, let's get it behind us.
Sawyer: Can you say how much?
Jackson: It's not what the tabloids have printed. It's not all this crazy outlandish money, no it's not at all. I mean, the terms of the agreement are very confidential.
Twice Sawyer had to ask Jackson why he settled the case because Jackson wouldn't answer the question. This means Jackson is withholding information. Jackson finally does give an answer. He states his attorneys could not guarantee what a judge or jury would do. This caused Jackson to become outraged. He still hasn't told us why he settled the case.
Jackson goes on to say he is totally outraged. He needs "to get out from under this nightmare." Jackson meets with his advisors again who believe he should "resolve the case." Jackson's answer is he settled the case because his advisors told him to do so. A good follow-up question would have been, "Why did your advisors tell you to settle the case?" There is the possibility Jackson's advisors knew there was some serious evidence against him. Going to trial may have revealed other personal information about Jackson, and it may have led to his conviction. Perhaps this is why they urged him to settle the case. It is interesting Jackson complains about people lying and "coming forth to get paid." Yet, in the end he paid someone who he wants us to believe was lying.
When it comes to how much money Jackson paid his accuser Sawyer again has to ask him two times. The press had reported that Jackson paid a large amount of money. Jackson responds by saying, "That's, that's, most of that's folklore" and "It's not what the tabloids have printed. It's not all this crazy outlandish money, no, it's not at all." Jackson doesn't tell us it is all folklore, he says that "most" of it is folklore. This qualified statement shows us that some of it is true. The exact dollar amount Jackson paid was to remain confidential. The tabloids were guessing and probably did print the incorrect dollar amount. This allows Jackson to say, "It's not what the tabloids have printed." Only Jackson knows what dollar amount constitutes "crazy and outlandish." What you consider to be crazy may not be crazy for him. After all the guy is a multi-millionaire.
We see that in reference to the 1993 allegations, Jackson was evasive in his answers and he settled the case by paying his accuser a sum of money. Now lets take a look at the current allegations he is facing. On November 20, 2003, Jackson turned himself in to face charges he molested a child at his Neverland Ranch. On the same day, he was released on bond. Instead of giving a video taped statement as he did in 1993, this time Jackson used the internet to release his statements. On his web site he gave the following statement:
"To my fans, friends and family:
As you know, the charges recently directed at me are terribly serious. They are, however, predicated on a big lie. This will be shown in court, and we will be able to put this horrible time behind us.
Because the charges are so serious, I hope you all will understand, on the advice of my attorneys, I will be limited in what I can say about the situation. There will be times when I cannot comment at all. No doubt, this will be frustrating for all of us.
For that reason, I have set up this website to serve as a source of official communications on my case. Any statement that does not appear on this website must be considered unauthorized.
You are right to be skeptical of some of the individuals who are being identified in the mass media as my friends, spokespeople, and attorneys. With few exceptions, most of them are simply filling a desperate void in our culture that equates visibility with insight. We will not engage in speculation. We will not provide running commentary on every new development or allegation du jour. We intend to try our case in the courtroom, not in the public or the media.
I thank you all for your support and understanding.
God bless you,
There are several things we see and don't see in his statement.
"As you know"
We do not know anything unless Jackson tells us. Common sense does tell us these are serious charges. However, we do not know they are based on a "big lie."
"This will be shown in court, and we will be able to put this horrible time behind us."
Jackson uses plural pronouns. He could have personalize it by saying "I will be able to put this horrible time behind me."
Jackson then starts to use the pronoun "I." "I hope you all will understand." "I will be limited in what I can say." However, in the fourth paragraph he goes back to using the plural pronouns. "We will not engage." "We will not provide."
"We intend to try our case in the courtroom, not in the public or the media."
The word "intend" means he may or may not do it. A stronger statement would be "I will try this case in the courtroom." Jackson is telling us that his camp may not try this case in the courtroom. This is probably because the first case was settled out of court.
The biggest thing that is missing from his statement is the same thing that was missing from his 1993 statement. It is the same thing that is usually missing from a guilty person's statement - a denial. Jackson never says, "I didn't do it." "I did not touch that boy." "I did not molest that child." He may be limited in what he can say but he can always issue a denial. That is if he is innocent. When you are guilty it is hard to deny the charges.
On December 25, 2004, Ed Bradley with CBS News interviewed Michael Jackson regarding the new charges he is facing. The interview aired December 28, 2004 on "60 Minutes." Here is a portion of the transcript from that interview which CBS posted on their web site.
Bradley: What is your response to the allegations that were brought by the district attorney
in Santa Barbara, that you molested this boy?
Jackson: Totally false. Before I would hurt a child, I would slit my wrists. I would never hurt a child. It's totally false. I was outraged. I could never do something like that.
Bradley is stright forward with charges; "That you molested this boy." Jackson makes a denial of "totally false" but he does not use the word "molested." He tells us specifically that he "would never hurt a child." But he does not specifically address the molestation charges. His statement "I could never do something like that" is not a denial that he did not do it.
Bradley: So, when he would come over, what would he do? What would you do?
Jackson: I'll tell you exactly. When I first saw XXXX, he was total bald-headed, white as snow from the chemotherapy, very bony, looked anorexic, no eyebrows, no eyelashes. And he was so weak, I would have to carry him from the house to the game room, or push him in a wheelchair, to try to give him a childhood, a life. Cause I felt bad. Because I never had that chance, too, as a child. You know? That the-- and so, I know what it-- it felt like in that way. Not being sick, but not having had a childhood. So, my heart go out to those children I feel their pain.
Bradley asks a compound question which makes it easier for the interviewee to not answer one of the questions. Jackson does this by not answering the question "What would he (the boy) do?" Jackson only tells us what he did.
Jackson refers to himself as a "child." Most people will use the words "kid", "little boy" or "little girl" but not "child." When a person refers to himself as a "child" this is an indication the person was sexually molested prior to his 18th birthday. This word is even more important because Jackson is facing child molestation charges.
As soon as he calls himself a "child" he asked a question, "You know?" A question in the middle of a statement draws suspicion. Jackson never expected Bradley to answer the question. By his question he may want Bradley to assume (you know). We assume nothing. Only believe what people tell us.
After asking this question, Jackson stumbles over his words. "That the -- and so, I know what it -- it felt like in that way." The fact that he asked a question and stumbled over his words immediately after referring to himself as a "child" is significant.
Bradley: What was going through your mind when you're taken into a police station, in handcuffs,
to have a mug shot taken, that you know is gonna be shown around the world?
Jackson: They did it to try and belittle me, to try and to take away my pride. But I went through the whole system with them. And at the end, I-- I wanted the public to know that I was okay, even though I was hurting.
Ask yourself this same question. What would be going through your mind? Probably the fact that you have not done anything wrong and yet you are being handcuffed and taken to the police station. Jackson never mentions this. Here is an opportunity to proclaim his innocence and he fails to do so.
Jackson then goes on to say that he was mistreated when he was taken into custody.
Bradley: What happened when they arrested you? What did they do to you?
Jackson: They were supposed to go in, and just check fingerprints, and do the whole thing that they do when they take somebody in. They manhandled me very roughly. My shoulder is dislocated, literally. It's hurting me very badly. I'm in pain all the time. This is, see this arm? This is as far as I can reach it. Same with this side over here.
Jackson continues to talk about being handcuffed saying:
Jackson: Yeah. And putting it, they put it in a certain position, knowing that it's going to hurt, and affect my back. Now I can't move. I - I - it keeps me from sleeping at night. I can't sleep at night.
Jackson states that the police "manhandled" him to the point that his shoulder is dislocated "literally." The word "literally" is not needed. Deceptive people will often use additional words to make their statement sound believable.
Jackson wants us to believe the police handcuffed him in such a way "knowing that it's going to hurt." Jackson's arrest was so well documented with video tape that it is hard to imagine the police would purposely manhandle him. Jackson is a rock star. Despite the charges, most people (even law enforcement) will be somewhat in awe of him. He acts as if they treated him like he was a belligerent drunk.
Bradley: As-- as we sit here today, do you still think that it's acceptable to share
your bed with children?
Jackson: Of course. Of course. Why not? If you're gonna be a pedophile, if you're gonna be Jack the Ripper, if you're gonna be a murderer, it's not a good idea. That I'm not. That's how we were raised. And I met-- I didn't sleep in the bed with the child. Even if I did, it's okay. I slept on the floor. I give the bed to the child."
The words "of course, of course" indicate Jacksons wants us to take for granted that he believes it is acceptable to share his bed with children. Had he answered "Yes" that would show a stronger commitment to his statement.
Jackson tells us he believes it is okay to share his bed with children. He then goes on to say "If you're gonna be a pedophile, if you're gonna be Jack the Ripper, if you're gonna be a murderer, it's not a good idea. That I'm not." What is he referring to when he says "That I'm not"? Is he talking about not being a pedpohile, Jack the Ripper and a murderer? Or is he only talking about not being one of those things?
His use of the word "even" makes us wonder if he is being truthful when he denies sleeping with kids. Later in the interview, he repeats this statement.
Bradley: Do you know how this looks to a lot of people? I mean, do you understand that?
Jackson: How does what look?
Bradley: How the fact that you -
Jackson: Know why? People think sex. They're thinking sex. My mind doesn't run that way. When I see children, I see the face of God. That's why I love them so much. That's what I see.
"People think sex. They're thinking sex. My mind doesn't run that way." Since he was talking about how people "think" it would have been a stronger denial if Jackson would have said "My mind doesn't think that way."
Bradley: Do you know any other man your age, a 45-year-old man, who shares his bedroom
Jackson: Of course. Not for sex. No. That's wrong.
Bradley: Well, let me-- let me say, from my perspective, my experience, I don't know any 45 year old men, who are not relatives of the children, who share their bedroom with other children.
Jackson: Well, what's wrong with sharing your bed? I didn't say I slept in the bed. Even if I did sleep in the bed, it's okay. I am not going to do anything sexual to a child. It's not where my heart is. I would never do anything like that. That's not Michael Jackson. I'm sorry. That's someone else.
Jackson answered Bradley's question with "of course" which means he may not know of a 45-year-old man who shares his bedroom with children.
Here we have the questionable statement again - "Even if I did sleep in the bed it's okay."
Jackson uses the word "never" in his denial; "I would never do anything like that." The word "never" is a weak denial. "I did not have sex with children" is a much stronger deinal.
In denying he had sex with children, Jackson says, "That's not Michael Jackson. I'm sorry. That's someone else." We all know what he is trying to say here. But, he may be telling us that he has a split personality. Michael Jackson would never do these things, but "someone else" might. We see possible further evidence of a split personality when he apologizes for that someone else.
Bradley: Michael, what would you say to you-- your fans, who have supported you through all of
this, and-- and who today, some of them might have questions? What would you say to them?
Jackson: Well, I would tell them I love them very much. And I-- I-- they've learned about me, and know about me from a distance. But if you really want to know about me, there's a song I wrote, which is the most honest song I've ever written. It's the most autobiographical song I've ever written. It's called, "Childhood." They should listen to it. That's the one they really should listen to. And thank you for your support, the fans around the world. I love you with all my heart. I don't take any of it for granted. Any of it. And I love them dearly, all over the world.
Here is another opportunity for Jackson to say "I didn't do it." "I did not molest that boy." But, as he does in previous statements throughout the years, he neglects to say such a thing. We will all have to wait and see how things turn out this time for Michael Jackson.
On September 3, 2004, "Dateline NBC" correspondent Josh Mankiewicz investigated allegations that more than one boy accused Michael Jackson of abuse in 1993, and how the case has been kept quiet until now. "Dateline NBC" learned what evidence authorities had against Michael Jackson, as well as details about the civil case against him that have remained sealed in the basement of the Los Angeles county courthouse for more than a decade. Jackson's accuser swore in a declaration filed in the civil suit against Jackson:
"Michael Jackson masturbated me many times both with his hand and with his mouth. Michael Jackson told me that I should not tell anyone what happened. He said this was a secret."
Click here to read the complete story filed by "Dateline NBC"
On June 13, 2005, a jury found Michael Jackson not guilty on all charges.
On May 16, 2013, Wade Robson appeared on the Today show and told Matt Lauer that Michael Jackson was a "pedophile and a child sexual abuser." Robson said Jackson abused him from ages 7 to 14. He said that Jackson "performed sexual acts on me and forced me to perform sexual acts on him."
Robson testified as a defense witness at Jackson's 2005 molestation trial. He said he lied for Jackson because Jackson told him if anyone found out what they had done together, "both of us would go to jail for the rest of our lives." Robson came forward because of the birth of his son. He started thinking how he would feel if someone molested his son. Click here for more information on Robson's claims.