January 2, 2015

Trouble in Neverland: The Michael Jackson Molestation Charges

Michael Jackson has always liked kids. That’s not meant to be a salacious observation. It’s merely evident in how he has chosen to conduct his life. He, himself, has acted very much the child in the past. With an entire life in show business, with an abusive, single-minded father/manager, with an overbearing crush of adulation leading to isolation, Michael Jackson, it seems, has never fully matured as a man. His definition of maturity and ours would, of course, be at variance. For, by being simplistic in his ways, and overtly caring in his statements, he is defining a maturity that may far exceed the average cynical male. It is this very nature, the oddity it presents on a public front, which has made him such a derisive target for the majority of the last decade. Whether the media’s harsh judgement of him in this context is warranted is debatable. But it is certainly these very behavior traits he has displayed which have led many to simply dismiss and condemn him. How did it all go wrong in 1993?

A chimp named Bubbles, a hyperbaric sleep chamber, a bid on the Elephant Man’s bones. These are but a few of the so-called oddities that surrounded the Michael Jackson persona after his monumental breakthrough in the mid-‘80s with the album “Thriller.” He has gone on to dismiss the idea of his buying any bones and scoffed at the use of any age-reduction sleep chamber. But as Michael entered the 1990s, his style and his flair of showmanship was on the wane for many teens in the American market. Globally, he did, and still does, command a huge following. Grunge, rap and techno were edging out his over-the-top, eccentric creation. Falling out of step with the times, he became more noticeable in his egotistically-driven bid as the self-proclaimed “King of Pop.” For many, this made him seem like a ripe target.

In 1991, Michael founded the Heal The World Foundation. Its goal, according to Jackson, was “healing – pure and simple.” The organization provides immediate relief efforts to needy children around the world. During the Sarajevo crisis, the foundation sent over several airlifts of food and medical supplies to aid the war-torn nation. It also instituted an immunization and drug abuse education program called Heal LA after the riots in 1992.

Michael’s actions seemed to always speak of his desire to help children. Often he would invite inner-city youths out to his ranch, the sprawling compound named Neverland, in California’s Santa Ynez Valley, to enjoy park rides and petting zoos on the grounds. He has visited with countless sick children in hospitals around the world. Oftentimes, he would go to local shops and music stores to buy thousands of dollars worth of toys and CDs. He would then go to the local children’s hospital, orphanage, or school where he would then distribute the items to the sick and disadvantaged. It is apparent that he wouldn’t just drop off the gifts but instead he would hang out and talk with the kids.

He befriended young AIDS victim Ryan White and drew attention to his plight. He invited 14-year old heart transplant patient Donna Ashlock out to his home for lunch. He paid for the funeral of 9-year old Ramon Sanchez Jr., who was shot by a stray bullet while drinking milk in his kitchen, because Ramon’s family could not afford a proper burial. Michael clearly adored children. But the combination of his “weird” looks, his effete demeanor, his suspect sexual orientation, his crotch-grabbing dance moves, and his love of kiddie activities helped to fuel a fire that was already primed when he was hit with accusations of child molestation in late 1993.

The first inkling that signs of trouble were looming on the horizon began in May 1992, when Jackson’s car broke down on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles one afternoon. A woman, who was the wife of an employee at a local car rental company, took Jackson in her vehicle over to the Rent-A-Wreck offices. While arranging for alternative transportation, Dave Schwartz, the company’s owner, was on the premises, and dazzled by the celebrity standing before him, phoned his wife June. June quickly brought her two kids from her first marriage, a 6-year old daughter and a 12-year old son, to the Rent-A-Wreck offices to meet Jackson. The young son exclaimed to Jackson that he was a big fan of the entertainer. June Chandler Schwartz gave Michael her phone number.

Jackson, who was not shy about connecting with children, as he had publicly displayed in his association with celebrity kids like Emmanuel Lewis and Macauley Culkin, began to talk with June’s son by phone. In June 1992, his world tour in support of his “Dangerous” album kicked off in Munich, Germany. After three months on the road that summer, he finally arrived home to Neverland and had June and her kids come out to visit.

The friendship went full-blown at this point, as June and her kids traveled with Michael to places like Las Vegas, Disney World and Paris. He lavished the kids with after-hour shopping sprees at Toys-R-Us. By March 1993, he began to have June’s children up to the ranch for sleepovers. On May 12, 1993, while attending the World Music Awards in Monaco, Michael was seen in the front row of the auditorium with June’s boy sitting on his lap. Both June and the boy’s stepfather, Dave, didn’t seem to mind the attention Jackson was giving their kids. June’s ex-husband, Evan Chandler, the boy’s real father, also seemed to like Michael Jackson in his life…at first.

Evan was a dentist with a practice in the Los Angeles area. He had a few dental negligence mishaps attributed to him in the 1980s and apparently owed June thousands in alimony and other assorted expenses. As a fledgling screenwriter, he was credited with co-writing the Mel Brooks’ film “Robin Hood: Men In Tights.” According to Mary Fisher of GQ Magazine, Jackson slept over at Chandler’s house with the boy a short time after the Monaco event for five consecutive days. Chandler never apparently saw the two without their clothes on in bed together and never saw any actual sexual misconduct.

A taped phone conversation that Dave Schwartz, the Rent-a-Wreck owner, made of a chat he had with Evan Chandler sometime during July 1993 was made available to journalist Mary Fisher and her article. In the conversation, in which both men talked openly about their suspicions about Jackson’s true intentions with the child, Evan was heard to say, “It’s already set. There are other people involved that are waiting for my phone call that are in certain positions. I’ve paid them to do it. Everything’s going according to a certain plan that isn’t just mine. Once I make that phone call, this guy (presumed to be his attorney, Barry Rothman) is going to destroy everybody in sight in any devious, nasty, cruel way that he can do it. I’ve given him full authority to do that…And if I go through with this, I win big-time. There’s no way I lose. I’ve checked that inside out. I will get everything I want, and they will be destroyed forever. June will lose (presumably custody of her son)…and Michael’s career will be over.”

Having secured the services of attorney Barry Rothman, a big-shot lawyer, who Fisher characterized as someone who owed many creditors and oftentimes, never paid his employees or allowed their checks to bounce, Evan and Rothman let June know that the boy should not be around Jackson anymore. Word got to Michael as to what Evan and Rothman were insinuating, and he enlisted the aid of his attorney Bert Fields and private investigator Anthony Pelicano to look into the matter. Pelicano, according to Fisher’s article, asked the boy point-blank if he had seen Michael naked in bed and if he had ever touched the child. The boy responded in the negative to both questions.

Pelicano went on to reveal a meeting that he, Michael, Evan and the boy had at a hotel in August 1993 at which Evan allegedly produced an assessment by a local psychiatrist. The doctor’s conclusion on the behavior displayed between Jackson and the boy was one of concern, and Evan concluded the meeting by snarling at Jackson, “I’m going to ruin you.” According to Pelicano, both Rothman and Chandler subsequently demanded a 20-million dollar settlement. Mary Fisher even reported that Chandler had sodium Amytal administered to his son, an anesthetic that is incorrectly assumed to be a ‘truth’ serum, when in fact, it has been misused oftentimes to effectively plant false memories within a patient.

After June filed papers against Evan to have the boy returned to her, Evan immediately maneuvered to have the psychiatrist phone the Department of Children Services in Los Angeles. At that point, local authorities were notified of alleged molestation charges. On August 17, 1993, the Los Angeles Police Department began a formal investigation into the situation. In cooperation with detectives from the Santa Barbara Police Department, the two enforcement agencies raided the Neverland Ranch on August 21st and seized evidence, including videotapes. The videotapes did not contain anything incriminating. But when confidential documents from the Department of Children’s Services leaked to the local media, the world crashed down on Michael Jackson.

Tabloid television shows like “Hard Copy” ruled the airwaves in 1993 far more prevalently than they do today. Viewership was high for this type of “entertainment,” and subsequently, so-called leads in the investigation, which were provided in minute detail on the tabloid shows, were used as the lead stories in more legitimate news broadcasts. News directors, especially in the Los Angeles area, were eager to find anything on the Jackson scandal, regardless of its dubious source. “Hard Copy” went on to broadcast contents of the leaked documents from Children’s Services, which contained salacious passages written by a social worker like, “while laying next to each other in bed, Michael Jackson put his hand under (the child’s) shorts.”

On September 14, 1993, two former housekeepers at the Neverland ranch, Stella and Philippe LeMarque, sold their interview to Britain’s The Globe newspaper for $15,000. They claimed they allegedly saw Jackson “doing what honeymooners do” with young boys. By this point, Evan Chandler and Barry Rothman had gone their separate ways, and civil attorney Larry Feldman had stepped up to represent the boy. On September 15th, a 30-million dollar civil suit alleging the pop star had seduced and sexually molested the Chandler boy was formally filed. “Hard Copy” later found a former Jackson maid, Blanca Francia, who claimed Michael had been in a Jacuzzi with naked boys. Later, when she was formally deposed, Francia could not recall any instance when she saw anyone naked, and that the boys had been wearing swim trunks at all times.

Jackson, throughout all of this turmoil, was trying to continue his “Dangerous” world tour. While performing in Singapore, he was visited by his friend Elizabeth Taylor, who noticed that Michael was over-abusing prescribed painkillers. She saw he was in agony.

By October 1993, a dozen detectives from LA and Santa Barbara had talked with over 30 children who had been acquaintances of Michael Jackson. Even though some said they had slept in the same bed as Jackson, not one of them claimed he had done anything improper. Alfonso Ribeiro, an actor who had worked with Michael when he was 11 years old on a Pepsi ad said to Entertainment Weekly magazine, “I was there, I went to Michael’s house and went on his tours and hung out with him after his concerts. All I know is there was none of that going on when I worked with him, and I’ve talked to other children who hung out with him and none of them saw anything happen either.” An Australian boy, Wade Robson, stated, “Sure I slept with him on dozens of occasions. But the bed we shared was huge. He slept on one side, I slept on the other. It was just a slumber party.” Actor Corey Feldman related to TV Guide magazine, “I was a child when I started hanging out with him. We both came from abusive homes and started performing at the same age…It’s not blind faith. I just know. We slept in the same room. The accusation is just ridiculous.”

The pressure became too much for Michael to handle. On November 12, 1993, his publicist announced at a press conference that the rest of the “Dangerous” tour was to be cancelled. His attorney Bert Fields told the press that Jackson was “barely able to function adequately on an intellectual level.” Jackson was in Mexico City at the time, and he subsequently disappeared for a while. The media speculated he had gone into hiding, and rumors connected him being somewhere in the French Alps. Actually, his pal Elizabeth Taylor had helped to check him into a London rehab clinic to kick the painkiller addiction. He stayed at Elton John’s home while undergoing treatment. While he battled his addiction, his multi-million dollar sponsorship deal with Pepsi-Cola was severed.

Ten days later, on November 22nd, five ex-security guards at the Neverland ranch told the media they were prepping a suit alleging that they were wrongfully terminated from employment because they knew too much about Jackson’s supposed peculiar love of young boys. Later, under oath, the guards couldn’t come up with one instance of Jackson’s impropriety, and the case was thrown out in March 1997. Two of those ex-employees were ordered to pay Jackson $60,000 in court expenses.

Jackson’s own family members were alternately too upset or outright accusatory in his defense. Earlier in late August, his brothers Tito and Jermaine had walked off the set of NBC’s “Today” show when they saw a crew from a local affiliate turn up to ask them questions about the scandal. His sister LaToya didn’t help matters any when she held a press conference in Tel Aviv, Israel on December 8, 1993, saying, “I can’t remain silent. I love him, but I cannot and will not be a silent collaborator (in) his crimes against small innocent children. You tell me what 35-year old man is going to take a little boy…and stay with him for five days in his room?”

On December 22, 1993, Jackson finally went public. In a 4-minute speech he broadcast via satellite from the Neverland ranch to stations around the globe, he vehemently denied any wrongdoing. He implored, “I ask all of you to wait to hear the truth before you label or condemn me. Don’t treat me like a criminal because I am innocent.” Many viewers did not buy his denials and couldn’t see beyond the eccentric façade that seemed to continually distance Jackson from other so-called “normal” people. He had one supporter in the wings, though, who definitely wanted to see him through the hard times.

Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of Elvis, had first met Michael Jackson when she was seven years old. She was in Las Vegas and had come to see 17-year old Michael perform. The two did not see each other again for many years. But a series of phone calls in 1993 led to their starting to date in early 1994.

And it was in early 1994, that Michael Jackson decided to try to end the depressing ordeal. On January 25th, he settled the civil suit with the boy in what has always been purported to be an amount somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 to 20 million dollars. Jackson’s attorney at the time, Johnnie Cochran, Jr., said in court that the settlement was “in no way an admission of guilt.”

Diane Sawyer later asked Michael Jackson on ABC’s “PrimeTime Live” in 1995 about this abrupt end to the matter.
Diane Sawyer: “Why did you settle the case? And it looks to everyone as if you paid a huge amount of money…”
Michael Jackson: “That’s…that’s, most of that’s folklore. I talked to my lawyers, and I said, ‘Can you guarantee me that justice will prevail?’ And they said, ‘Michael, we cannot guarantee you that a judge or a jury will do anything.’ And with that I was like catatonic, I was outraged!”
Diane Sawyer: “How much money…”
Michael Jackson: “Totally outraged. So, I said…I have got to do something to get out from under this nightmare. All these lies and all these people coming forth to get paid and all these tabloid shows, just lies, lies, lies, lies. So, what I did, we got together again with my advisors and they advised me. It was a hands-down, unanimous decision – resolve the case. This could be something that could go on for 7 years!”

Later, in May 1996, after the broadcast of this interview, Michael was hit with a $60 million lawsuit by Evan Chandler, claiming that the singer had violated the terms of the settlement on the molestation suit because he had publicly implied, with his “lies, lies, lies, lies” statement, that Chandler and the boy had fabricated the entire case. Later, in July 1999, an arbitrator finally ruled that Jackson’s comments on “Primetime Live” were not in violation of the settled suit’s terms.

By May 1994, Michael’s and Lisa Marie’s relationship had grown closer, and one day, he awkwardly proposed to her. He told Ebony magazine, “Well, first I asked – I’m the shyest person in the world. I said to her – we were on the phone – ‘If I asked you to marry me, would you?’ She said, ‘Of course!’ Then there was silence. I said, ‘Excuse me, I’ve got to go to the bathroom.’ So, I came back. I didn’t quite know what to say. But that’s how it happened.”

As Lisa Marie indicated to Diane Sawyer in 1995, the couple put into effect some sort of pre-nuptial agreement. Together, they were secretly wed on May 26, 1994 while in the Dominican Republic by civil judge Hugh Francisco Alvarez Perez. They mysteriously denied rumors of the nuptials for two months until Lisa Marie finally divulged to the press on August 1st that they were indeed husband and wife. As if to show he could be intimate with a female, who in this case was his spouse, Michael made a point to appear at the opening of the 1994 MTV Video Music Awards program and kiss Lisa Marie onstage before the surprised audience members.

By that time, the criminal investigation into the alleged molestation claim was pretty much a moot point. The LA and Santa Barbara District Attorney offices announced on September 21st that they were not going to file any child molestation charges. After interviewing over 200 people, including over 50 children, not one single shred of evidence corroborating the Chandler boy’s claims had come to light.

One would think that Jackson might cool it around kids and not openly show them interacting with him for a while. If anything, it seemed he flagrantly put forth images depicting him as a figure worshipped by small children. In October 1994, the Boy Scouts of America released a statement saying, “Michael Jackson is not and has not been a registered leader or member of the Boy Scouts of America. Our approval for publication was not sought, and the publisher has not returned our phone calls.” The publication in question was a 1995 calendar featuring a photo of Jackson in a scoutmaster’s uniform surrounded by adoring kids in scout uniforms.

In the “PrimeTime Live” interview, Diane Sawyer and Michael discussed the sleepover tendencies:
Diane Sawyer: I just want to…is it over? Are you gonna make sure it doesn’t happen again? I think, this is really the key thing people want to know.
Michael Jackson: Is what over?
Diane Sawyer: That there are not going to be more of these sleepovers, in which people have to wonder.
Michael Jackson: Nobody wonders when kids sleep over at my house. Nobody wonders.
Diane Sawyer: But are they over? Are you…are you gonna watch out for it now?
Michael Jackson: Watch out for what?
Diane Sawyer: Just for the sake of the children and for everything you’ve been through.
Michael Jackson: No! Because it’s all…it’s all moral and it’s all pure. I don’t even think that way, it’s not what’s in my heart.”
Diane Sawyer: So you’ll, you’ll do it again?
Michael Jackson: I would never ever…do what again?
Diane Sawyer: I mean, you’ll have a child sleeping over?
Michael Jackson: Of course. If they want.

Michael subsequently went on to release a promotional video for his upcoming album “HIStory” in which he marched down an Eastern bloc-type street, complete with goose-stepping soldiers, as women cried and children ran after him, starry-eyed, as if he were some sort of demigod. The press noted similarities in the piece to Leni Reifenstahl’s Nazi-propaganda documentary “Triumph of the Will.” The album itself drew controversy in regards to the lyrics in the song “They Don’t Care About Us.” The verse “Jew me, sue me, everybody do me, kick me, kike me, don’t you black or white me,” was seen obviously by some as anti-Semitic, and Jackson, subsequently, released an apology.

Michael also supposedly met with shock-jock Howard Stern, according to a chapter in Stern’s book “Miss America,” and through a publicist, asked if Howard would lead a demonstration on the streets of New York in support of Jackson. A baffled Stern turned down the request.

While the mainstream media had let up on the molestation stories, tabloid television was still sniffing for any trace of scandal about Jackson. On January 9, 1995, Diane Dimond of “Hard Copy” was a call-in guest on the Los Angeles radio station KABC-FM’s “Ken and Barkley Show.” She implied that a freelance journalist, who had supplied her with previous alleged improprieties concerning Jackson, had witnessed an incriminating 27-minute video. Here is what was said, according to the Appellate Court transcripts of the original case brought before the Superior Court of Los Angeles County:
Question: This is a recent video, or something?
Dimond: Yes…It was taken right before Christmas as the story goes, and it was recorded by one of Michael Jackson’s own security cameras. He likes, everyone knows that he likes to bug rooms and put cameras up and the whole nine yards.
Question: How do they (the District Attorney’s office) know about this?
Dimond: Well, it’s kind of a convoluted story but the bottom line as I understand it is, someone close to…Michael Jackson knew of the existence of this tape. It is an x-rated tape, I must tell you and –
Question: It is an x-rated tape?
Dimond: It is…yes.
Question: Of Michael Jackson?
Dimond: Truly explicit.
Q: It’s what? Michael Jackson and a little boy. Are you 100% sure that this tape exists?
Dimond: I am as sure as I can possibly be.
Q: You have not seen it?
Dimond: I have not seen it, but one of my best sources on the Michael Jackson story has seen it.
Later she said:
Dimond: And, I have to tell you, if my source is correct, who has seen this tape, and again, he always has been…The acts that are being performed on that tape are exactly what the accuser a year ago said Michael Jackson did to him.
Question: Well, I mean you don’t need to beat around the bush. What are those acts?
Dimond: We are talking about oral sex.
Question: Um, hmm. Performed on Michael Jackson or by Michael Jackson?
Dimond: By Michael Jackson…

An enraged Jackson filed a $100 million lawsuit against KABC-FM, producers of “Hard Copy,” Paramount Television, which owned the program, and finally against the “source” witness of the alleged video, Victor Gutierrez. While the claims against the corporate sources were dropped, a superior court judge ruled on October 15, 1996 that Gutierrez had to pay damages for refusing to show any indication that the alleged video ever existed. The judgement amount was later determined in April 1999 as 2.7 million dollars to be paid to Michael for the erroneous claims.

By the end of 1995, Michael was informed by Lisa Marie that she wanted a divorce. Michael’s world tour in support of “HIStory” in 1996 was met with protests from governments and concerned citizens who had heard of the scandalous tales in countries like South Korea and Malaysia. While on tour on November 4, 1996, the press received word that a long-time friend of Jackson’s, Debbie Rowe, a dental assistant, was pregnant with his child.

On November 14th, Debbie and Michael wed in a private ceremony at the Sheraton On The Park hotel in Sydney, Australia at 2:00 in the morning after one of Michael’s concerts. He said, “Debbie and I love each other for all the things you’ll never see onstage or in pictures…I fell for the beautiful, unpretentious, giving person that she is, and she fell for me just being me.” The Daily Mirror newspaper reported that Debbie would receive $1.25 million after their child was born and $280,000 a year for every year the couple stayed married after that. If the marriage failed, the Mirror claimed Rowe would still receive $2.3 million. Debbie denied this “report” to KNBC News of Los Angeles by saying, “I would never do this for money. I did this because I love him. That’s the only reason I did this.” Rowe gave birth to a son, Prince Michael Jackson Jr. on February 13, 1997. In order to quash the insatiable tabloid need to capture photos of the kid, Jackson sold exclusive rights to the National Enquirer to publish little Prince Michael’s pictures for 2 million dollars.

After giving birth to another child, a daughter named Paris Michael Katherine Jackson, on April 3, 1998, Debbie did, indeed, file for divorce from Michael on October 9, 1999, citing irreconcilable differences. From all outward appearances, it looks as if Jackson has retained custody of his two children. Asked by TV Guide magazine shortly after his second divorce if he thought he would marry again, Michael responded, “That would be nice.” For now, he is back at his ranch with the kids and is currently pursuing avenues to invest in everything from fancy hotels to amusement parks around the globe.

Ultimately, based on outcome alone, the public has no reason to believe any of the charges lodged against Michael Jackson had any validity. But many people still do “feel” he is capable of these actions. A grown man who chooses to have children who are not his very own share a bed with him brings a knee-jerk reaction to just about every concerned parent in the days that we live in. The very moniker the tabloids crowned him with in the 1980s, “Wacko Jacko,” carries a stigma well into the new millenium that hints, for some, as something nefarious when Michael is spotted in the company of children. In response to this nickname he told Barbara Walters on “20/20,” “I have a heart and I have feelings. I feel that when you do that to me. It’s not nice. Don’t do it. I’m not a ‘wacko.”

Perhaps it’s that soft denial, that sensitive, emotional nature he displays that give a few people insecurity. In the world of superstars, Michael still has his supporters and detractors. Whether it’s Paul McCartney, who immediately supported Jackson after the charges in 1993, when he said to USA Today, “I wouldn’t hesitate a second to entrust my own children to Michael’s care,” or actor Wesley Snipes, who said on a radio program in 1998 that he wouldn’t let Jackson babysit his 9-year old son, celebrities are still split over their former King of Pop.

But without any evidence revealed, to be fair, we should all probably assume, for the time being anyway, that Michael Jackson is just an extremely eccentric man and leave it at that. He prefers to be childlike in his view of our world. He tried to sum up his need to bond with all children to Ebony Magazine in May 1992. “A great poet said once, ‘When I see children, I see that God has not yet given up on man.’ An Indian poet from India said that, and his name was Tagore,” Michael related. “The innocence of children represents to me the source of infinite creativity. That is the potential of every human being. But by the time you are an adult, you’re conditioned; you’re so conditioned by the things about you and it goes. Love. Children are loving, they don’t gossip, they don’t complain, they’re just open-hearted. They’re ready for you. They don’t judge. They don’t see things by way of color. They’re very child-like. That’s the problem with adults, they lose that child-like quality. And that’s the level of inspiration that’s so needed and is so important for creating and writing songs and for a sculptor, a poet or a novelist.”

Michael Jackson’s Speech from Neverland on December 22, 1993

As you may already know, after my tour ended, I remained out of the country undergoing treatment for a dependency on pain medication. This medication was initially prescribed to ease the excruciating pain that I was suffering after reconstruction surgery on my scalp.

There have been many disgusting statements made recently concerning allegations of improper conduct on my part. These statements about me are totally false. As I have maintained from the very beginning, I am hoping for a speedy end to the horrifying, horrifying experience to which I have been subjected. I shall not in this statement talk about the false allegations that have been made against me, since my lawyers have advised me that this is not the proper forum in which to do that.

I will say that I am particularly upset at the handling of this matter by the incredible, terrible mass media. At every opportunity, the media has dissected and manipulated these allegations to reach their own conclusions. I ask all of you to wait to hear the truth before you label or condemn me. Don’t treat me like a criminal, ‘cause I am innocent.

I have been forced to submit to a dehumanizing and humiliating examination by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles Police Department earlier this week. They served a search warrant on me, which allowed them to view and photograph my body including my penis, my buttocks, my lower torso, thighs, and any other area that they wanted. They were supposed to be looking for any discoloration, spotting, blemishes, or any other evidence of a skin disorder called Vitiligo that I have previously spoken about.

The warrant also directed me to cooperate in any examination of my body by deposition to determine the condition of my skin including whether I had Vitiligo or any other skin disorder. The warrant further states that I had no right to refuse this examination or photographs, and if I failed to cooperate with them they would introduce that refusal at any trial as an indication of my guilt.

It was the most humiliating ordeal of my life, one that no person should ever have to suffer. Even after experiencing the indignity of this search, the parties involved were still not satisfied. They wanted to take even more pictures. It was a nightmare, a horrifying nightmare, but if this is what I have to endure to prove my innocence, my complete innocence, so be it.

Throughout my life, I have only tried to help thousands upon thousands of children to live happy lives. I am not guilty of these allegations, but if I am guilty of anything it is of giving all that I have to give to help children all over the world; it is of loving children of all ages and races; it is of gaining sheer joy from seeing children with their innocent and smiling faces; it is of enjoying through them the childhood that I missed myself. If I am guilty of anything, it is of believing what God said about children: “Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not for this is the Kingdom of heaven.”

In no way do I think that I am God, but I do try to keep God’s light in my heart. I am totally innocent of any wrongdoing and I know these terrible allegations will all be proven false. Again, to my friends and fans, thank you very much for all of your support. Together, we will see this through to the very end.

I love you very much and may God bless you all.
I love you.

© 2000 Ned Truslow

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