A judge expressed skepticism Tuesday about whether a man who alleges he was abused as a child by Michael Jackson can file a late claim against the singer’s estate, but took the matter under submission and said he would rule later.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff noted that James Safechuck told his mother in 2005 about the alleged molestation and broke ties with the pop star.
The judge also noted that Safechuck that year rejected Jackson’s request to testify on his behalf when the singer was on trial on sexual abuse charges involving another young man — allegations for which the entertainer was acquitted.
“Mr. Safechuck said, ‘No, I won’t testify in your criminal trial and don’t call me again,”‘ Beckloff said.
Safechuck did not file his petition for a late claim against the Jackson estate until August.
Attorneys for the estate maintain Safechuck had 60 days to file the claim after he began to understand what allegedly happened to him after seeing a May 2013 television interview with Wayne Robson, who also claims he was sexually abused by Jackson as a child.
Safechuck’s attorneys maintain he did not fully comprehend what happened until he obtained therapy and that therefore he is not bound by the 60-day statute.
Howard Weitzman, an attorney for the Jackson estate, has said Safechuck’s claims should be dismissed.
“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,” Weitzman said previously. “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.”
Safechuck, 36, alleges he was abused by the King of Pop after the two appeared together in a late-1980s Pepsi commercial, when Safechuck was 10.
“(Jackson) engaged in a calculated course of conduct to lure both (Safechuck) and his parents into a false sense of security and normalcy that was far from reality,” Safechuck’s attorneys allege in the court papers.
They claim Jackson “was successful in his efforts to the point that (Safechuck) endured repeated acts of sexual abuse of a heinous nature and was brainwashed by the decedent into believing they were acts of love and instigated by James himself rather than the decedent.”
Jackson had Safechuck dress like him to the point the boy looked like a “miniature version” of the singer, Safechuck’s attorneys’ court papers state.
“After the first incident (Safechuck) regularly began sleeping in (Jackson’s) bed in his hotel room during the rest of the ‘Bad’ tour in 1988,” Safechuck’s attorneys’ court papers state.
Safechuck alleges the pop star went molested him about 100 times for four years up until he reached puberty.
Last year, the 31-year-old Robson, an Australian former-choreographer, also filed a petition for a late claim against the estate, alleging Jackson sexually abused him at a young age.
According to Safechuck’s attorneys’ court papers, their client was able to gain “insight” from Robson’s claim and then obtained psychiatric help that has allowed him to come forward with details of the “loathsome nature of his childhood sexual relationship with (Jackson), the effects of which he has buried for decades.”
Jackson died June 25, 2009, of acute propofol intoxication.
— City News Service