The son of the star's former maid testifies of encounters that began when he was about 7

By Vickie Bane and Stephen M. Silverman
Updated April 05, 2005 08:25 AM
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The son of Michael Jackson’s former maid told the courtroom in the star’s child-molestation trial Monday that he was fondled by Jackson during three separate “tickling” sessions that occurred over several years, starting when he was about 7.

Now 24 and married, the witness testified that Jackson twice touched his clothes in the groin area at the singer’s Los Angeles-area condominium and once reached under his clothes at Jackson’s Neverland Ranch.

The witness, sometimes tearful and his voice cracking, said, “The first time I felt uncomfortable” was when he was “7 or 7 1/2.” He said he was sitting on Jackson’s lap, watching cartoons, when Jackson began tickling him. At first, he described the tickling as “cool … I was a tickling guy,” but then he became uncomfortable when Jackson started tickling him through his “orange shorts” in his private parts.

When asked how long the incident lasted, the witness said it was “a little while … more than three minutes and less than 10.”

He testified that the second encounter took place when he was “8 or 8 1/2.” Once again, he said, they were watching cartoons on top of a sleeping bag in a “spooning” position (the boy in the front cuddled next to Jackson in the back) when Jackson began tickling him, including his genitals through his shorts.

The witness said that although his mother had brought him with her to clean, he claims she wasn’t in the room either time. After each time, he told the court Jackson gave him $100 bills and told him not to tell his mother about the money.

He also testified that the final assault happened at Neverland Ranch when he was “10 or 10 1/2.” It was essentially a repeat of the previous experience, with the witness telling the court he didn’t remember how it ended.

During testimony, Jackson occasionally gazed at the jury but avoided looking at the witness.

During cross-examination, which is due to continue on Tuesday, the defense attempted to discredit the witness by pointing out that in his first interview with detectives in 1993 he “denied” being molested by Jackson and “profited monetarily” from a settlement he and his mother reached with the Jackson camp.

According to the Associated Press, the witness received a $2.4 million settlement from Jackson in 1994.