| Supporters at Michael Jackson’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in a candlelight vigil for the entertainer on Saturday. (AP)
Los Angeles, Nov. 23: The boy who authorities say was molested by Michael Jackson reported the pop star’s alleged behaviour to a therapist, who in June informed the Santa Barbara county sheriff’s officials, a source close to the boy’s family said.
The source, who spoke on the condition that he not be named, said the boy’s mother began growing suspicious of his relationship with Jackson early this year, around the time ABC broadcast a documentary about the singer.
In the documentary, shown February 6, the boy and Jackson are shown holding hands and talking about sleepovers at Jackson’s California Neverland Ranch. Within a few weeks, the source said, the mother had consulted an attorney.
The boy met Jackson while he was undergoing treatment for cancer and alleges that the so-called “King of Pop” served him wine before molesting him several times last winter during visits to Jackson’s Santa Ynez Valley compound, according to several sources involved in the case. The boy, who will turn 14 next month, was 12 at the time of the alleged crime.
Jackson, whose album Thriller was one of the world’s best sellers, surrendered to Santa Barbara county authorities on Thursday after an arrest warrant was issued. Prosecutors said they plan to charge him with multiple counts of child molestation, though they would not be more specific. After being booked and giving up his passport, he posted $3 million bail and was released. He must return to Santa Barbara county superior court on January 9 for his arraignment.
Jackson’s defence lawyer, Mark Geragos, declined to comment on specifics of the Jackson case, saying he has yet to read any of the prosecution’s discovery documents. Geragos said Jackson is innocent and will fight the charges in court.
“Michael is one of the most brilliant, intelligent, strongest human beings I have ever had the pleasure of meeting,” said Geragos, 46. “I couldn’t be more impressed with him.”
Interviews and a review of court documents shows that the boy at the centre of the Jackson case has had a turbulent childhood. The boy suffered from leukemia and received treatment at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.
In February 2002, the boy’s father was arrested and charged with nine misdemeanor counts including willful cruelty to a child, records show. Authorities said the boy was the alleged victim in two of those counts.
The father had separated from the boy’s mother seven months earlier, after 16 years of marriage. The couple have three children, whose ages now range between 12 and 17.
The boy’s father pleaded no contest to a cruelty charge involving an older sister, and was ordered to serve four years on probation and take a parenting class, according to court files. The other charges, including the ones involving the boy, were dismissed.
The father was charged in 2001 with abusing his wife. He pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor count of inflecting corporal injury on his wife and received three years probation.
Weeks later, the wife filed for divorce and obtained a protective order against him. She also received sole custody of the children.
The boy’s relationship with Jackson was a subject of discussion in the media earlier this year when the pair appeared in the documentary.
“There was one night I asked him if I could stay in the bedroom. And he let me stay in the bedroom,” the boy told interviewer Martin Bashir.
Jackson said that the boy slept in his bed while he slept on the floor. He also defended sharing a bed with children.
Los Angeles attorney Gloria Allred filed a complaint with Santa Barbara child welfare authorities on Friday, asking them to investigate whether Jackson’s children should be removed from his care.