A woman who says she was molested and sexually assaulted as a child by Michael Jackson has filed a lawsuit, claiming she was paid more than $900,000 to compensate her for years of abuse.
The alleged abuse started in 1986 and occurred in such iconic locations as Neverland Ranch, the set of “Moonwalker,” Jackson’s Encino mansion and in the back of the singer’s limousine, according to papers filed Tuesday in Los Angeles County Superior Court.
The court filing includes scanned copies of checks purportedly paid to her from Jackson or his entertainment companies.
The largest sum, a $600,000 check, was paid in late 1993, just three months after Jackson was hit with a child molestation lawsuit from a 13-year-old boy, according to court papers.
The latest lawsuit marks the first time that a female has come forward to allege that Jackson victimized her, and the woman’s lawyer, Vince Finaldi, said the case offers the first evidence that Jackson and his production company — not an insurance carrier — made direct payments to an alleged abuse victim.
Jackson, who died in 2009 from an overdose of the powerful anesthetic propofol, and his estate are not formally listed as defendants.
Instead, the lawsuit claims that since she was under 15 at the time, the two entertainment companies formed by Jackson had a duty to supervise her and intervene to stop sexual abuse. Each company is listed in court papers only as Doe 1 and Doe 2.
An attorney for Jackson’s estate, Howard Weitzman, sharply condemned the case as baseless.
“This is yet another attempt to hit the lottery by suing the Estate of Michael Jackson more than seven years after Michael’s death and close to 30 years after these incidents supposedly occurred,” Weitzman said in a statement.
“We believe this claim was created from whole cloth and is without any merit.”
The woman’s identity is not included in court papers. The Times generally does not name people who allege they are victims of sexual assault.
The woman contends her interactions with Jackson began in 1986 at the age of 12, when her parents took her and her siblings on a sightseeing stop at Jackson’s gated Encino home, known as Hayvenhurst, according to the lawsuit.
During the family’s roadside stop, Jackson arrived home in a Mercedes, and later, security guards invited the family into the home, supposedly at the request of the singer.
While guiding the girl and her mother into his “candy room,” Jackson allegedly solicited the family’s home phone number, according to the lawsuit.
The woman alleges that for about three years, Jackson fondled her, forced her to orally copulate him, and attempted to have sexual intercourse with her, which caused her to bleed, the lawsuit states.
Jackson also supplied her with gifts and letters, and two of the notes were attached to the lawsuit. One of the letters ends, “I’m crazy about you. ... All my love, Michael.”
To gain the girl and her mother’s trust, Jackson allegedly spent several hours talking with each on the phone, according to court papers. The woman’s lawyers allege the phone calls were a way to “groom” the girl and her mother.
The abuse ended just before her 15th birthday, the lawsuit alleges.
The purported payments to the victim occurred from 1990 to 1993. In 1994, Jackson agreed to a reported $23-million confidential settlement in a lawsuit that claimed he molested a 13-year-old boy.
For years after the 1994 settlement, Jackson was dogged by allegations of sexual abusing children.
Santa Barbara County prosecutors charged Jackson with molesting a then-13-year-old cancer patient whom he met in 2000. A jury acquitted Jackson of all counts, but the 14-week trial inflicted lasting damage on Jackson, with prosecutors describing his Neverland compound in Los Olivos as a fantasy world built to lure young boys and ply them with alcohol and pornography.
The lawsuit filed Tuesday follows a similar claim made by choreographer Wade Robson, who contends Jackson abused him as a child for several years and forced him to perform sex acts. The new accuser cites Robson and says his coming forward gave her confidence to seek legal action despite decades-old threats that she would be harmed for doing so.
The firm representing the woman, the Irvine-based Manly, Stewart & Finaldi, is the same legal team handling Robson and another man’s abuse claims against the Jackson estate.
Weitzman, the Jackson estate’s attorney, hinted that such a link was suspect.
“It’s also no coincidence that this woman is represented by the same attorneys involved in two other frivolous claims against the estate,” Weitzman said.
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