Michael Jackson jurors heard testimony on Monday from the first of nine witnesses who are expected to allege that the singer abused five boys before the current accuser. The 24-year-old man, son of a former Neverland housekeeper, alleged that Jackson fondled him three times while the witness was aged seven to 10, according to wire service reports. The witness said each incident started with tickling and progressed to groping — over the boy’s clothes the first two times and under his shorts the third time. After each of the first two incidents, the witness said, Jackson gave him $100. The pop star gave him nothing after the third incident, he said, though he would ultimately pay him $2.4 million in an out-of-court settlement.
Jackson has denied all the molestation allegations leveled against him, past and present. His attorney, Thomas Mesereau, reminded the witness that he told no one about the alleged molestation until investigators interviewed him in 1993 after another boy alleged that Jackson had abused him. (That boy would also receive a multimillion-dollar settlement. Neither case ever went to trial, and no charges were ever filed against Jackson.) When the housekeeper’s son did talk to police, three years after the last alleged incident, he denied that Jackson had done anything worse than tickling him, Mesereau said. The witness told Mesereau he didn’t remember saying that to police, but he did say he’d been too embarrassed to admit being molested. ” I didn’t want to ever talk about this stuff again,” he said. However, he was expected to have to talk about it more on Tuesday as Mesereau’s cross-examination was scheduled to continue.