Leo McKinstry

In defence of Wacko Jacko

Leo McKinstry explains why he has the gravest doubts about the charges brought against the weird and plastic Michael Jackson

In Peter Pan, J.M. Barrie described the bed that the ‘rampageous’ boys made for themselves in their magical primitive home in Neverland: ‘It filled nearly half the room and all the boys slept in it, lying like sardines in a tin.’ Today, the sleeping arrangements at a modern version of this fantastic place have led to one of the most explosive prosecutions in recent criminal history. The singer Michael Jackson, who so loves the Peter Pan story that he named his own Californian ranch ‘Neverland’, is awaiting trial on charges of molesting a 12-year-old boy, Gavin Arvizo, who has cancer, and of using an ‘intoxicating agent’ to facilitate sexual contact.

The case is due to come to court this month, and the outlook is bleak for Jackson. So deep is his predicament that he has had to pay the extraordinary sum of $3 million in bail, while he has also been forced to surrender his passport to the police, which could prevent a planned trip to Britain this coming week to promote his latest CD.

According to the prosecution team, the evidence against Jackson is overwhelming. As well as the testimony of Gavin Arvizo, who claims that Jackson nicknamed him ‘Rubba’ because he liked their bodies to rub together, there are said to be dozens of ‘very explicit’ love letters and poems from Jackson to the boy. Prosecutors are also reported to have tracked down two other boys, one from El Salvador and the other from South America, who have alleged abuse by Jackson. The latest criminal charges hardly come as a surprise. For more than a decade, Jackson has been tainted by rumours of his sexual perversions. In 1993, he reached an out-of-court settlement, worth about $25 million, with the family of Jordy Chandler, another boy who accused Jackson of inappropriate behaviour.

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