Five years after his sudden passing, Michael Jackson is being accused of sexual abuse by a man who claims he was molested as a child by the superstar.
In court papers filed Monday, James Safechuck, 36, alleges he was abused by the singer when he was 10 years old after appearing in a Pepsi commercial with him.
After multiple visits to Jackson’s home (some of which were chaperoned by his parents) and several all-expense-paid cross-country trips, Safechuck joined the pop star on his “Bad” tour, which is when he alleges the first incident of sexual abuse occurred.
Though specifics of the abuse claims are redacted in the papers, Safechuck says it first happened at the Hotel de Crillon during the Paris portion of Jackson’s tour.
The papers allege Jackson gave Safechuck jewelry as a “reward” for sexual favors and taught him code words so others wouldn’t learn about their sexual activities.
The Jackson estate slammed the allegations Wednesday in a statement to E! News.
“Mr. Safechuck’s request to file a late claim against the Jackson Estate so he can recover money from Michael’s beneficiary will hopefully be rejected,” says the statement. “This is a person that made his claim five years after Michael died, more than 20 years after the incidents supposedly happened and has given sworn testimony that Michael never did anything inappropriate to him.”
Claiming he was the first to stay at Jackson’s famed Neverland Ranch after it was built, Safechuck states in the papers that the pop star “installed chimes in the hallway to his bedroom” so he could be warned of people approaching and had a “secret closet” in his bedroom where he engaged in sexual activities with Safechuck.
During the four years that Safechuck claims the abuse took place, Jackson engaged in sexual acts with him “hundreds of times – on tour, at Plaintiff’s home, at DECEDENT’s apartment/condominium at DECEDENT’s Condominium and at Neverland,” the papers say.
When Safechuck hit puberty at 12 years old, Jackson began “grooming him for separation [that] spanned several months” and focusing his attention on a younger boy named Brett, Safechuck claims. Eventually, Jackson stopped sexually abusing Safechuck but continued supporting him financially and put him in touch with industry people to guide his career, he adds.
In 1993, Safechuck allegedly testified at the Jordan Chandler childhood sexual abuse trial, where Jackson said those claims “were a complete extortion on the part of the Chandler family,” the papers say.
Eventually, Safechuck claims, his relationship with Jackson “tapered off” when he turned 17, enrolled at Moorpark Community College and began having panic attacks.
When he was around 25 years old, Safechuck was contacted by Jackson, who asked him to testify on his behalf in another criminal sexual abuse case. Safechuck alleges Jackson “got angry and threatened him” after he refused to help.
After seeing Wade Robson, whom he had met in 1993, file a lawsuit against Jackson for claims of childhood sexual abuse, Safechuck – who by then had a wife and newborn daughter – began meeting with a psychiatrist to deal with his anxiety.
In 2005, Jackson was acquitted on all 10 counts in his child-molestation case. A hearing has been set for early September in this latest case.