Michael Jack­son fam­ily con­demns new doc­u­men­tary on ac­cusers

The Standard Journal - - ENTERTAINMENT - By An­drew Dal­ton AP En­ter­tain­ment Writer

Michael Jack­son’s fam­ily mem­bers said that they are “furious” that two men who ac­cuse him of sex­u­ally abus­ing them as boys have re­ceived re­newed at­ten­tion be­cause of a new doc­u­men­tary about them.

The fam­ily re­leased a state­ment de­nounc­ing “Leav­ing Nev­er­land,” a doc­u­men­tary film fea­tur­ing Jack­son ac­cusers Wade Rob­son and James Safechuck that pre­miered at the Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val and is set to air in the spring on HBO and the U.K.’s Chan­nel 4.

“Michael al­ways turned the other cheek, and we have al­ways turned the other cheek when peo­ple have gone af­ter mem­bers of our fam­ily — that is the Jack­son way,” the state­ment said. “But we can’t just stand by while this pub­lic lynch­ing goes on . ... Michael is not here to de­fend him­self, oth­er­wise th­ese al­le­ga­tions would not have been made.”

The fam­ily points out that Jack­son was sub­jected to a thor­ough in­ves­ti­ga­tion that in­cluded a sur­prise raid of his home, the Nev­er­land Ranch, but was still ac­quit­ted at his crim­i­nal trial in 2005, in a case in­volv­ing an­other young man.

Rob­son tes­ti­fied at that trial, say­ing he had slept in Jack­son’s room many times, but that Jack­son had never mo­lested him. Safechuck made sim­i­lar state­ments to in­ves­ti­ga­tors as a boy. Jack­son died in 2009.

Both men filed law­suits in 2013 say­ing stress and trauma had forced them to face the truth and ad­mit they were sex­u­ally abused. The suits have been thrown out on tech­ni­cal grounds but are un­der ap­peal.

The Jack­son state­ment calls the men “per­jur­ers” be­cause of this re­ver­sal, say­ing the fam­ily is “furious” that me­dia out­lets with­out ev­i­dence have cho­sen “to be­lieve the word of two ad­mit­ted liars over the word of hun­dreds of fam­i­lies and friends around the world who spent time with Michael.”

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