Therapist Who Spoke to Jackson Accuser Testifies
A psychologist who interviewed Michael Jackson’s teenage accuser testified Wednesday that it’s rare for adolescent boys to fabricate accusations of sexual molestation.
Stan Katz said teenage boys rarely make up such allegations because of the stigma their peers attach to homosexual acts. The accuser alleges he was molested by Jackson at age 13.
Katz said he met with the teenager and his family in June 2003, soon after the alleged molestation.
The psychologist said he was concerned enough to report the allegations to the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. He did not specify on the stand what the accuser told him in their interview.
On cross-examination, defense attorney Thomas A. Mesereau Jr. asked Katz about his book, “Codependency Conspiracy,” published in the early 1990s.
In it, Katz wrote about false accusations of sexual molestation that children had made. He wrote that 40% of child molestation allegations could not be proved in criminal court and mentioned a “witch hunt mentality” involved in child-molestation investigations.
Katz said that the problems with false accusations are limited to children younger than 5 and that he had not seen such issues with older children.
Also testifying Wednesday was a lawyer who said members of the accuser’s family have agreed that, if they sue Jackson, the lawyer would share in the proceeds from any monetary award the boy wins. It was the trial’s first testimony saying the family has considered filing a lawsuit.
Jackson’s defense team has maintained that the now 15-year-old Los Angeles boy made up the molestation allegations to win money from the 46-year-old singer. The boy has not sued Jackson, but he has until age 20 to do so.
During testimony earlier in the trial, the boy testified that his family was not interested in suing Jackson.
Attorney William Dickerman said he first met with the accuser’s mother in February 2003 and initially tried to help her prevent from being broadcast the portions of the British documentary “Living With Michael Jackson” that included her son. The lawyer said he also tried to arrange for the return of clothing, furniture, passports and other items that the family contends Jackson took before they left his Neverland ranch in the Santa Ynez Valley in March 2003.
In May of that year, Dickerman said, he referred the boy’s family to attorney Larry Feldman, who a decade earlier had represented another Los Angeles boy who reportedly won millions in a legal settlement after accusing Jackson of molesting him.
Dickerman said he referred the case to Feldman because “I knew he was the go-to guy about Michael Jackson.”
Dickerman said he and Feldman have an agreement to divide any proceeds from a lawsuit against Jackson, should the family file one. “We were retained together. I have a fee-sharing arrangement with Mr. Feldman,” Dickerman said.
He said he did not think the family was pursuing a lawsuit. “My understanding is there isn’t one in the offing. Nobody’s talking about one,” he said.
Dist. Atty. Tom Sneddon is still working to bring one of Jackson’s former security guards from a Las Vegas jail -- where he’s being held on robbery and other charges -- to Santa Barbara County to testify against Jackson. The former guard, Christopher Carter, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to the charges.
After the court hearing, his attorney said Carter would invoke his 5th Amendment protections against self-incrimination and would not testify against Jackson.
Carter told the Santa Barbara County Grand Jury last year that he saw Jackson and his accuser sharing a Diet Coke can filled with wine during a flight from Miami to Santa Barbara.
This week, a flight attendant who served Jackson and the boy on that trip said she never saw the boy sipping from Jackson’s Diet Coke can.
Cynthia Bell also said it was her idea to use the soda can because she knew Jackson did not like to drink alcohol in front of his children, who were on that flight.