Video: Jackson accuser's strange family stories

updated 2/23/2005 4:17:11 PM ET 2005-02-23T21:17:11

NBC News' Mike Taibbi reported on MSNBC's ‘The Abrams Report’ that the alleged victim in the Michael Jackson sexual abuse case had previously accused both his parents of abuse.

Taibbi says Jackson's accuser, then seven-years-old, got sick at school. Before the mother could be notified, the father's attorney Russell Halpern says, "the boy…broke down and started crying, saying 'I don't want you to call my mother because she'll beat me... she'll hit me.’"

Documents obtained exclusively by NBC News show an investigation had begun by Children and Family Services into alleged abuse of the boy by his parents.  But the boy changed his story and the allegation was declared "unfounded."

“The same boy denied any hitting by the parents," says Halpern.

Four years later in 2000, NBC News first reported that the accuser's mother belatedly added on a charge that she was not only beaten but had been sexually abused by a JC Penny's security guard after a shoplifting incident that led to a lawsuit.  The children backed her story in what a defense psychiatrist called "clearly rehearsed testimony." But the sex abuse charge was never mentioned in the settlement JC Penney's offered without admitting any wrongdoing.

Tom Griffin, JC Penny's attorney says "She just came up with this fairy tale... not a fairy tale, a horror story...!  And ran with it.

The following year in 2001, police responded to an ugly argument that spilled into the street during the parent's bitter divorce.  At first, Jackson's accuser and his siblings told a social worker they had witnessed "no hitting, just yelling" by their father over the years "and not a lot of yelling." 

During this interview, the mother was away at work.  Halpern says she was furious that her children were interviewed without her being present.

But days later, with their mother present, the boy and his siblings changed that story.   Now it was daily beatings of all family members: punching, kicking, breaking bones, holding the mother's head under water and constant threats to kill them all.  

Weeks later, the mother added that she had "observed the (father) inappropriately touching" the couple's daughter, when the daughter was much younger.  

However, domestic abuse expert Nancy Lemon says the delay in making the sex abuse charge doesn't diminish its believability.  "It's actually quite typical for sexual abuse either of an adult or of a child to be reported much later."

But the father's attorney says he never heard one word about the sex abuse allegation from anyone.

Halpern says the father was never charged with sexual abuse."I guess it got as much attention from the prosecutors as we gave it,” he says.  “It was just a rant on her part that's patently untrue."

In the end, Halpern advised the father to plead no contest to one charge of spousal abuse and one charge of cruelty to a child in exchange for a sentence of probation.  There was no jail time, despite the dramatic allegations against him of sex abuse and physical brutality.

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