A California judge dismissed a lawsuit that claimed Michael Jackson’s corporate entities were established to facilitate the sexual abuse of children, alleging the companies had been negligent by allowing the late King of Pop to violate young boys.
James Safechuck filed the revived suit, alleging he had been molested by Jackson from 1988 to 1992, ending when he was 14 years old. His accusations were amplified last year in HBO’s Emmy-award winning “Leaving Neverland” documentary. The film featured graphic personal testimonies from Safechuck, 42, and Wade Robson, 38, who also claimed to have been sexually abused by Jackson as a child.
James Safechuck’s lawsuit alleges that Michael Jackson abused him hundreds of times in the late 1980s and early ’90s, and claims that “the thinly-veiled, covert second purpose of (Jackson’s) businesses was to operate as a child sexual abuse operation.” https://t.co/aTw1SbUzcJ
— USA TODAY (@USATODAY) October 22, 2020
USA Today reports:
Los Angeles Judge Mark A. Young dismissed Safechuck’s lawsuit, saying his lawyers had not proven Jackson’s companies, MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures, had a fiduciary duty to him as a child working for the pop star, nor was it proven there was a special relationship between the two. The judge also ruled it was not proven that Jackson’s companies – then led by the star – had the ability to control or discipline Jackson.
Safechuck’s lawsuit alleges that Jackson abused him hundreds of times in the late 1980s and early ‘90s, and claims that “the thinly-veiled, covert second purpose of (Jackson’s) businesses was to operate as a child sexual abuse operation, specifically designed to locate, attract, lure and seduce child sexual abuse victims.”
Jackson’s estate lawyers, his family members and administrators of his estate, which owns Jackson’s companies, have vociferously denied the allegations against him by Robson and Safechuck, whom they have repeatedly labeled liars.
Both Safechuck and Robson defended Jackson’s honor when the singer was alive. But after a lethal dose of propofol killed Jackson in 2009, they filed separate suits claiming they had been molested by the international entertainment icon as children. The courts eventually dismissed the cases because the statute of limitations had expired. However, both were reconsidered after CA Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom signed a law last year extending the time limit for alleged sexual abuse victims to file lawsuits. Robson’s case is expected to go to trial next summer. The same attorney, Vince Finaldi, represents both men.
Finaldi argued Safechuck “was an employee” working for Jackson. He said Jackson’s companies were obligated to protect his client.
“We are appealing this ruling, as we believe it ignores well-established California law and would set a dangerous precedent that leaves children unprotected,” Finaldi said in a statement to USA Today. “The notion that these companies owed no duty to protect Mr. Safechuck – who was a young boy working for them at the time – from a known pedophile, attempts to turn decades of child sexual abuse rulings and statues on their head.”
According to Deadline, “Leaving Neverland” director Dan Reed is producing “a follow-up film.” He has reportedly been shooting footage in the Los Angeles Superior Court as Safechuck and Robson have pursued legal action.
‘Leaving Neverland’ Director Dan Reed Fights Subpoenas As He Shoots Sequel To Channel 4/HBO’s Michael Jackson Film https://t.co/OS79ksQZ3f
— Deadline Hollywood (@DEADLINE) October 21, 2020
The Jackson estate filed a $100 million lawsuit against HBO for broadcasting “Leaving Neverland,” saying the cable network violated a previous non-disparagement agreement with Jackson. Last year, a judge ruled that HBO be bound to a 1992 agreement to arbitrate the dispute rather than settle the matter in federal court.
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