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Class Differences

Accuser told teacher Jackson didn't touch him. Cross-examining the boy, the defense asks about seeming inconsistencies

''Even today, I don't remember exactly when the molestation happened,'' Michael Jackson's accuser said on the stand Monday. The admission came during Monday's day-long session of cross-examination of the boy by Jackson attorney Thomas Mesereau, according to wire service reports. Mesereau spent Monday seeking inconsistencies in accounts the boy has given to authorities regarding his allegations against the singer. Most notably, he acknowledged telling a school administrator, after Martin Bashir's documentary had aired in Feb. 2003, that Jackson ''didn't do anything to me.''

The 15-year-old has testified that the alleged molestation didn't take place until after he appeared in Jackson's rebuttal video to the Bashir film. Mesereau asked him, however, if he recalled telling Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon (who's now prosecuting at the trial) two years ago that the alleged molestation happened before the rebuttal video was produced. That's when the boy said he didn't remember exactly when the incidents took place. He also recalled that Dean Jeffrey Alpert at Los Angeles' John Burroughs Middle School had asked him (after the Bashir broadcast) whether Jackson had done anything to him during his stays at Neverland, and that he had answered no (''I told him twice,'' he said), but he didn't say whether he had uttered these denials before the time the prosecution alleges that the molestation occurred.

Mesereau also pointed out the similarity between statements regarding masturbation that the boy had variously attributed to Jackson and to his own grandmother. Last week, the boy testified that the singer had brought up the topic just before fondling him the first time, attributing to Jackson a remark that masturbation was a natural way to relieve sexual tension that might otherwise lead one to ''rape a girl.'' Mesereau said that the boy had initially told the police that it was his grandmother who had told him about masturbation, including the notion that one might otherwise be driven to ''rape a girl.'' The accuser responded that ''She was telling me it was OK to do it, and Michael was saying you have to do it.''

Jackson, who had cited severe back pain as the reason he arrived late and dressed in pajamas to Thursday's court session, arrived on time Monday and wore a red jacket, a tie, a vest, and black slacks, though he told reporters as he left that he was still suffering back pain. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges against him.

Originally posted Mar 15, 2005
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