Charges Against Jackson Stand, Says Prosecutor (Feb 14 2001)


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Charges Against Jackson Stand, Says Prosecutor

Posted on Feb 14, 2001, 9:16 AM

Michael Jackson is not out of the woods.

So says Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon, the man who brought child molestation charges against the singer in 1993.

Jackson is scheduled to deliver a speech tonight at Carnegie Hall on behalf of his Heal the Kids initiative. Although Sneddon can't be there in person, he's definitely arching an eyebrow from 3,000 miles away.

"The case against Michael Jackson was never closed, and he was never exonerated," Sneddon says. "It's in suspended animation and can be reopened at any time."

If you recall, it was in August of 1993 that a then-13-year-old boy claimed Jackson had molested him. Jackson later settled with the boy, his family and their attorneys by agreeing to pay them what Vanity Fair said at the time was a sum "in excess of $25 million."

On the surface, it would appear that the statute of limitations on the charge against Jackson ran out last summer. But Sneddon says the time was "tolled," in effect stopping the clock, "because Jackson was living out of the country for much of that time."

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach, Jackson's friend and co-founder of Heal the Kids, argues that there is no case against Jackson. Not now, not ever.

"Everyone predicted at the time that all these kids would come forward," says Boteach, who has known Jackson for two years.

"Where are these kids?" he asks. "Why didn't they come forward? They don't exist. I realize that the job of a prosecutor is to prosecute. But in my own estimation, Michael is incapable of hurting a child."

As for the reported settlement, Boteach says Jackson needed to move financially so he could get the matter quickly behind him. "How could he not do that?" asks the rabbi. "It was like a lynching party."

Sneddon is not surprised that Jackson has been trying to transform his image. In Hollywood, image makeovers are "a way of life," Sneddon said, citing an L.A. Times story yesterday about "Hollywood deception."

"That's the genre, that's the environment in which Michael Jackson operates," he says.

Boteach responds that Sneddon's assertion "is an unfair generalization. "Michael has been a victim of deception as much as anyone else," Boteach says.

While we're on the topic of children, I wonder where Debbie Rowe is in all of this.

Heal the Kids was formed to bring children and parents closer together. Rowe is Jackson's ex-wife and the mother of his two children, Prince Michael Jr., 3, and Paris, 2, and yet she is hardly, if ever, seen around them.

"I am not privy to the terms of Michael's divorce," says Boteach. "But he is cut up over it. She has made visits to the children, but I don't know how often. What I do know is that Michael is a very understanding father."

And even Sneddon wants to give him the benefit of the doubt. "If he can do something to help the law enforcement community stop the spread of child abuse," says Sneddon, "any new initiative in that area is helpful. But you also have to look at the man's credibility and ask yourself, ‘Is this just showbiz?'


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Greedy and gutless wonders. Why did anyone ask. What Charges? If there had been charges, there would have been a criminal trial.

So blasted busy chasing behind the DEMON for face time, ratings and hoping to be Sneddon's new best buddy, none had time to do their job. Report the truth. :ranting