S.B. investigated earlier claims by new accuser

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April 15, 2004 [b]S.B. investigated earlier claims by new accuser[/b] Sources: Allegations were not credible By DAWN HOBBS NEWS-PRESS STAFF WRITER Claims of abuse by the latest person to accuse Michael Jackson of child molestation were deemed not credible by investigators in Santa Barbara County, the News-Press learned Wednesday. This new accuser, who is now 18, alleged the incidents occurred when he was a young teen at the entertainer’s Neverland Valley Ranch, county sources said. Los Angeles Police detectives are continuing to look into allegations from the same accuser that he was molested in their jurisdiction during the late 1980s. These incidents allegedly happened at the Jackson family’s home in Encino when the boy was about 4 years old. Los Angeles authorities provided no further details beyond a press release issued Tuesday stating that they are looking into the claims. The new allegations surfaced as Mr. Jackson is fending off accusations from a boy who says the entertainer molested him last spring. Grand jury proceedings in that case, now in its 10th day, are expected to wrap up next week. Santa Barbara County Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen and sheriff’s authorities declined to comment on the latest accusations, citing the gag order in the Jackson case. Former Sheriff Jim Thomas, who is working as a commentator on MSNBC, said the young man’s story “sounds similar to an allegation that I’m aware of that was found to be not credible. It’s important in these kind of cases that there be corroborating evidence. In any case, if something is alleged to have occurred within L.A.’s jurisdiction, then they have an obligation to do an investigation.” Mark Geragos, the lead defense team lawyer, could not be reached for comment. Defense co-counsel Robert Sanger of Santa Barbara said: “There is a gag order in this case, and out of an abundance of caution — even though it appears this person is not a witness — I think it would be prudent to not comment. It’s very difficult not being able to respond to this kind of an allegation.” The delay in reporting his claims to authorities, the boy reportedly told detectives, stems from his repressed memory about the earlier incidents, the county sources said. Even if the latest accuser’s story were to be corroborated, a legal expert said it would be risky to have him testify before the grand jury. “It sounds like people are coming out of the woodwork to be part of this case,” said Laurie Levenson, professor at the Loyola School of Law. “It’s certainly not going to help the witness’ credibility that it took so long to come forward. Unless it’s a good witness with a lot of corroboration, it could backfire for the prosecution. “Witnesses with repressed memory are controversial because a lot of the experts just don’t believe in it,” Ms. Levenson said. “They think it’s an excuse for someone having planted a thought in someone else’s mind.” Source: http://www.newspress.com/mjacksonupdate/0415sbinvestigated.htm

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