SANTA MARIA, Calif. -- In a halting, emotion-choked voice, the son of Michael Jackson's former housekeeper testified yesterday that the pop star molested him during a tickling game in 1990.
The 24-year-old man was called to the stand as prosecutors in the current molestation case against Jackson began trying to show the jury that the singer has a habit of molesting boys.
The witness said that over a span of several years, Jackson twice touched his groin over his clothes during tickling games at Jackson's Los Angeles-area condo, which he and his mother referred to as ''the hideaway," and in a third incident reached under his clothes at Jackson's Neverland ranch.
The witness said that Jackson touched him in one incident for two or three minutes and that he remembered thinking, ''I should probably go." Asked whom he first told of the incident, the witness said, ''Probably God."
The young man's testimony was allowed under a ruling last week by the judge that prosecutors may present evidence that Jackson molested or otherwise behaved inappropriately with five boys before the time period of the current allegations. Jackson is on trial on charges of molesting a 13-year-old boy in February or March 2003.
In his ruling, the judge said prosecutors could mention that the housekeeper's son and another boy received civil settlements from Jackson but could not tell the jury the amounts. Prosecutors have said the housekeeper's son received $2.4 million in 1994.
The housekeeper's son is now married and working in an anti-truancy program. The witness also described two earlier alleged incidents that involved Jackson touching him over his clothes.
The witness said he never talked about the incidents with anyone until 1993, when investigators came to him after another boy made allegations against Jackson in a civil case. The other boy also would later receive a settlement, reportedly in the multimillion-dollar range. No criminal charges were filed in either case.