Jackson Says He'd 'Slit Wrists' Before Hurting a Child

Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

In his first interview since being charged with child molestation, Michael Jackson said on a "60 Minutes" broadcast Sunday that he was mistreated by Santa Barbara County sheriff's deputies during his arrest, and that he would "slit my wrists" before hurting a child.

Jackson faces seven counts of felony child molestation and two counts of providing "an intoxicating agent" to a minor after a boy accused the pop singer of sexually abusing him in the last year during visits to Jackson's Neverland Ranch. Jackson, who again denied any wrongdoing during the broadcast, could face more than 20 years in prison if convicted of all the charges.

"Before I would hurt a child, I would slit my wrists first," he said.

Despite the internationally publicized allegations of sexual misconduct, Jackson told interviewer Ed Bradley that he still believed it was acceptable to share a bed with children.

"Why not?" he told Bradley during the interview, taped Christmas Day at a Los Angeles-area hotel. "If you're gonna be a pedophile, if you're gonna be Jack the Ripper, if you're gonna be a murderer, it's not a good idea. That I'm not."

When Bradley said he didn't know any 45-year-old men who shared their bed with children who weren't relatives, Jackson replied. "Well, what's wrong with sharing your bed?"

While surrendering to sheriff's deputies Nov. 20, the pop singer said authorities "manhandled me very roughly." He has a photograph that allegedly shows an injury to his arm caused by handcuffs.

"My shoulder is dislocated, literally," he said. "It's hurting very badly. I'm in pain all the time."

Jackson also said that while in custody he was locked in a dirty bathroom for about 45 minutes.

"Once I went to the restroom, they locked me in there for like 45 minutes," he said. "There was ... feces thrown all over the walls, the floor, the ceiling. And it stunk so bad."

The entertainer said that while in the bathroom, he was mocked by "a policeman" who stood outside a window.

"He made a sarcastic remark," Jackson said. "He said, 'Smell. Does it smell good enough for you in there? How do you like the smell?' "

The Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department, in response to allegations of misconduct made by a Jackson relative, issued a statement Dec. 11 denying that Jackson was mistreated while in custody.

"In point of fact, Mr. Jackson was treated with courtesy and professionalism throughout the process," the statement read. "At no time was he mishandled or subjected to any form of mistreatment."

Jackson said his accuser was one of thousands of children he has invited to his ranch in Santa Ynez. The singer said he was determined to help the boy with his battle against cancer.

"When I first saw him, he was totally baldheaded, white as snow from the chemotherapy, very bony," Jackson said. "And he was so weak, I had to carry him from the house to the game room, or push him in a wheelchair, to try to give him a childhood, a life."

Because law enforcement officials, armed with search warrants, went through his home, Jackson said he would never again live at Neverland. "It's a house now," he said. "It's not a home anymore."

The charges against him, Jackson said, are all about money, and he doesn't blame the child.

"Because parents have power over children," he said. "But the love of money is the root of all evil. And this is a sweet child. And to see him turn like this, this isn't him."

Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World