Michael Jackson won't face child sex counts

September 22, 1994|By Chicago Tribune

LOS ANGELES -- Pop superstar Michael Jackson will not face criminal child sex abuse charges, at least not for now, after three boys who alleged he molested them declined to testify in the case.

Prosecutors said yesterday they would not bring formal charges against Mr. Jackson, mainly because his chief accuser, a 14-year-old boy, would not participate in the investigation.

The decision was expected ever since Mr. Jackson settled a civil suit last year filed by the boy for an undisclosed amount, widely reported at between $15 million and $25 million.

But prosecutors refused to exonerate the entertainer and insisted they would not close the case until the statute of limitations runs out in five years.

"We have a very important witness who has told us, 'I'm sorry. I do not want to and will not testify,' " Los Angeles County District Attorney Gil Garcetti said. "If he steps forward a month from now, two months from now, and says, 'Now I want to testify,' we would re-evaluate our case at that time."

Mr. Jackson, 36, and his lawyers claimed vindication after Mr. Garcetti's announcement.

"I am thankful that the investigation has reached a conclusion," Mr. Jackson said in a statement issued in New York. "I've continually maintained my innocence. I am grateful to all my family, friends and fans who have stood by me and also believed in my innocence."

Larry Feldman, a lawyer for Mr. Jackson's 14-year-old accuser, said the boy refused to testify against the singer because of death threats and intense tabloid media scrutiny.

Mr. Garcetti and Santa Barbara County District Attorney Tom Snedden said in a written statement that a 13-month investigation had uncovered allegations that Mr. Jackson had sex with two other boys.

One has left the state after issuing a "general denial" of his charges. The other, who reported three sexual encounters with Mr. Jackson, has been in therapy since informing police of his allegations in early November 1993, the prosecutors said.

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