The 13-year-old boy who has alleged child abuse by Michael Jackson filed a civil lawsuit Tuesday charging that the pop superstar repeatedly sexually molested him.
The suit, the latest salvo in a three-week war of words between attorneys and representatives on both sides of the case, alleged that sometime during this year, the singer “repeatedly committed sexual battery” on the boy.
The complaint, filed through the boy’s parents, said that Michael Jackson performed oral sex with the boy and masturbated him. It said Jackson had the boy fondle his breasts and nipples while Jackson masturbated himself.
“This child is getting crucified,” said Larry R. Feldman, who recently replaced Gloria Allred as the boy’s attorney. “Everyone is batting this kid around in the newspaper.”
“This child’s life and emotional well-being hangs in the balance of what happens here,” added Feldman, former president of the Los Angeles County Bar Assn. and the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Assn.
Feldman said that the Los Angeles Police Department’s ongoing criminal investigation regarding the boy’s allegations will take a long time to be completed, and that the civil suit is meant to speed up the process. “This is the quickest way to get this kid’s life back in order,” the attorney said.
Contacted for their response, Jackson’s representatives reiterated their contention that the allegations are part of an attempt by the boy’s father to extort $20 million from the entertainer in exchange for not pursuing the child abuse allegations.
“This lawsuit is very indicative of the allegations. Somebody wants money,” said Anthony Pellicano, Jackson’s private investigator. “When people are asking you for money, they will try to get it one way and if they can’t they will try to get it another way.”
He said that Jackson, who was in Moscow as part of his “Dangerous” worldwide tour, expected the lawsuit to be filed.
No criminal charges have been filed against Jackson, who from the beginning has denied any wrongdoing. Police Department investigators continue dual investigations: one into the charges of extortion, the other probing allegations that Jackson lured the boy into sex.
“This is going to be a long war,” Pellicano said, echoing Feldman’s belief that the investigations will take some time.
The complaint, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, alleged sexual battery, seduction, willful misconduct, emotional distress and fraud and negligence. It generally outlined the nature of the alleged sexual acts by Jackson, which, the lawsuit said, occurred in Los Angeles County and other parts of California, as well as outside of the state.
The suit termed Jackson’s actions “despicable.” It said Jackson gave expensive and lavish gifts to the boy, showered him with care and attention and took him on trips and vacations. It said the singer “feigned despair and grief” when the boy rejected his sexual advances.
Richard G. Hirsch, the lawyer who represents the boy’s father, said the suit carries the “100% support” of both parents, who are divorced. Only the boy would benefit from any judgment or settlement, however, as he is the only plaintiff, and the suit is merely filed through his guardians.
“They are absolutely behind their son,” Hirsch said. “They have the most competent lawyer they could find, and they’re confident they will prevail.”
Hirsch said the case already has caused the boy and his family deep anguish, but he added that they consulted before bringing the lawsuit and determined that it “was the appropriate thing to do.”
Jackson, the lawsuit alleged, told the boy he would descend into depression if he was not allowed to perform the sexual acts, and told the boy they were “normal, usual and customary acts in a relationship between friends.”
The complaint added that Jackson did it all to “satisfy his lust, passions and sexual desires.”
The alleged sexual acts have and continue to cause the boy “great mental, physical and nervous pain and suffering and emotional distress,” the lawsuit said.
Feldman said that the boy, who has been living with his father, a Beverly Hills dentist, is undergoing extensive therapy and is living in “a bubble” because of the crush of publicity. “Normally I tell parents in such cases to stay out of the limelight and let the kid heal normally,” and not file a civil lawsuit, said Feldman. Because the allegations were leaked, however, he advised otherwise in this case.
The lawsuit’s allegations closely parallel those made in case files to social workers, which were obtained by The Times and are part of the police investigation. In those, the boy told a social worker that his relationship with Jackson began with affectionate cuddling. He said he often slept in the same bed with Jackson--a practice two other boys have said in televised interviews was common with Jackson.
Los Angeles police officers seized videotapes, photographs and other materials from two homes owned by Jackson, and they have interviewed a number of people close to him, including some young boys.
The suit asked for compensatory and punitive damages but did not specify an amount. Feldman said he hopes to have the case in court in six to 12 months.
In the Philippines, meanwhile, former Jackson employee Mark Quindoy claimed he saw Jackson fondle children during the two years he worked at the entertainer’s Neverland Ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley, the Associated Press reported. “I swear I saw Michael Jackson fondling the little kid, like his hands traveling on the kid’s thighs, legs, around his body. And during all this, the kid was playing with his toys,” Quindoy said at a news conference.
Pellicano termed Quindoy and his wife failed extortionists and said the LAPD has been “inundated” by “disgruntled employees” making “ludicrous claims.”
Times staff writer Jim Newton contributed to this article.