Did Jackson Accuser’s Mom Falsely Solicit Aid for Son’s Treatments? January 3, 2005 :camera VIDEO: Celebrity Justice Even as embattled pop star Michael Jackson continues to offer words of appreciation for the support of his fans, “Celebrity Justice” has exclusively learned that the mother of the boy accusing Jackson of child molestation also went looking for support — but in a very different way. In 2000, when Jackson first met his accuser, an article appeared about the boy and his family in Mid Valley News, a community newspaper in the town of El Monte, just outside of Los Angeles. The story was an emotional appeal, detailing the boy’s illness, the toll his treatment was taking on the family, and asking for readers’ financial charity. “Our car has been repossessed” the mother was quoted as saying. “One chemotherapy injection costs more than $12,000.” Now, Connie Keenan, the editor of Mid Valley News, speaking exclusively to “CJ,” has characterized the accuser’s mother in a most uncharitable manner. “My gut level: she’s a shark. She was after money,” Keenan told us. “My readers were used. My staff was used. It’s sickening.” In 2000, Keenan told us, the boy’s mother approached the Mid Valley news and pitched her story: “She pleaded her case that her son needed all sorts of medical care and they had no financial means to provide it.” Keenan agreed to run the heartfelt story inviting readers to help, but recalled that, almost from the get go, there were red flags, including the fact that, according to Keenan, the mother, “Wanted the money sent to her in her name, at her home address.” And that was just the beginning. Keenan assigned the story to reporter Christie Causer, who was so moved by what she heard that, on Thanksgiving Day, she brought food to the family — but, according to Keenan, “The mother, instead of being grateful that this woman brought her a complete Thanksgiving dinner, said ‘I’d rather have the money. This is nice, but I’d rather have the money.'” Keenan insisted that her paper would solicit funds only if the mother opened a trust account to receive them. Sources tell “CJ” that, nine days before the article ran, the boy’s mother did open an account in her name for the benefit of the boy at a Washington Mutual bank on the Sunset Strip and deposited one cent — but it was not a trust account. The article gave readers a roadmap to make donations: the name of the bank, the account number, even the routing number. We’ve learned that, within the first three weeks after the article ran, $965 was deposited — and $750 was promptly withdrawn. But Keenan told us that that absolutely wasn’t enough for the mother: “She really wanted another story done on her son because they just didn’t make enough money on the first article. And I told her — and I can be a crusty old broad — ‘we’re not doing another story on your son.'” The mother’s response? “‘Well, I’ll take it someplace else,'” Keenan recalled. “I said, ‘Fine.'” And as if all that wasn’t enough, it turns out that the boy was being treated at Kaiser Permanente in Los Angeles, at absolutely no cost to the family. That’s right, there were, in fact, no medical bills. All treatments were covered by insurance. The boy’s father was a teamster member who worked at a supermarket facility in the LA area. “CJ” spoke with Paul Kenny, heads of a teamster’s union in LA, who confirmed that the teamsters negotiated a sweet deal when it came to health care coverage. “They’re covered 100% under HMOs,” Kenny stated. “Including Kaiser, which is an HMO.” “There was no cost to [the boy’s father] out of pocket, at all,” Kenny added. “Everything should be covered 100% under his contract. Everything. There is no exceptions.” When we asked Keenan if it was her impression that the family had to shell out for treatment, she told us, “Of course it was.” Two years after the article ran, when Santa Barbara County DA Tom Sneddon filed child molestation charges against Jackson, Keenan realized that the boy she wrote about was the accuser and made contact with Jackson’s lawyer. “I just had this gut feeling that something was wrong here. So I sent a copy of the [Mid Valley News] to Mr. Geragos, who was representing Michael Jackson at the time,” Keenan told us. “Because maybe there’s a grain of truth to what Michael Jackson is saying — ‘I didn’t do it’ — or maybe it’s just to stop a shark.” Both Keenan and the article’s writer reported they have recently been contacted by Jackson’s defense team. A source close to the mother spoke with “CJ” and insisted that none of the money collected was misspent but wouldn’t say how the money was spent. Source: http://celebrityjustice.warnerbros.com/news/0501/03a.html

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