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Michael Jackson groped me: tearful man
Updated: 2005-04-05 11:00

The son of Michael Jackson's former maid wept as he described during explosive testimony how the star allegedly molested him three times between the ages of seven and 10.

The son of Michael Jackson's former housekeeper wept as he accused the star of molesting him three times between the ages of seven and 10. [AFP]
The 24-year-old man choked back tears as he told jurors in Jackson's child sex trial that the "King of Pop" first fondled his genitals more than 15 years ago and again on two later occasions.

"This is so much harder than I thought," he said, dabbing his eyes with a tissue as he recalled the alleged abuse in testimony that legal analysts said amounted to a courtroom bombshell.

"It's embarrassing. It was embarrassing then, and it's embarrassing now," he said as he offered the stunning testimony against the superstar. "This took a lot of counseling," he said, adding that he had to undergo five years of therapy.

Jackson is on trial for allegedly fondling a 13-year-old boy two years ago, but Judge Rodney Melville has allowed the prosecution to present five earlier cases of alleged child abuse by the superstar.

Testimony about the prior cases began Monday, with the former youth pastor saying Jackson fondled him twice through his clothes and once put his hands inside his shorts.

The third incident took place when the two were playing video games in the amusement arcade at Jackson's Neverland Ranch, the alleged victim said, adding that he was 10 at the time.

"He reached on my leg, then he reached up to my privates," said the alleged victim, who won an out-of-court settlement worth a reported two million dollars from Jackson in 1994 but said he only learned of the deal in 1997.

He said that as Jackson touched his testicles for about two or three minutes, he thought: "I should probably go."

The man said he could hardly bring himself to mention the incident when he was interviewed by police in 1993.

"I tried to block everything out," he said under cross-examination by Jackson's lawyer Thomas Mesereau who pointed out inconsistencies between what the witness told authorities in 1993 and his testimony on Monday.

"I was scared," the young man said. "I didn't want to be embarrassed at school. I didn't want to be embarrassed anywhere, I was 13."

After the first two sexual assaults, both of which took place when the boy was seven or eight years old, Jackson gave him 100-dollar bills, the witness said, adding: "It was kind of don't-tell-your-mum money."

The man said that on both occasions, Jackson first tickled him and then groped him through his clothes as they watched television in the star's Los Angeles apartment known as "the hideout."

He said that on one occasion, the star was lying behind him with his arm around him. "He was tickling me from behind in the genital area," he said

When asked by Mesereau whether he had received cash from the star, the man shot back: "Other than the money he put down my pants?"

The witness said that he did not initially even tell his mother of the alleged abuse.

"I don't think she knows I was molested three times by Michael Jackson," the man said. "I never told her the specifics that I was molested. But I believe that I told her in counselling ... that was a crying time."

The man is the only one of the five alleged prior victims called to testify for the prosecution, but parents and former employees are expected to tell jurors they witnessed the alleged abuses in the 1990s.

Three of the five alleged victims that the proscution says Jackson abused -- including former "Home Alone" child star Macaulay Culkin -- deny they had been molested.

Judge Rodney Melville told the panel Monday that testimony about prior uncharged sexual offences "may be used to show a propensity to commit similar crimes."

Legal analysts Monday's testimony was electrifying and damaging to the defense.

"The real poignancy is that he broke down in tears," analyst and former prosecutor Jim Hammer said. "It's radioactive."

While Jackson is not on trial for the prior cases, the jurors' perception of his behaviour could play a crucial role when the panel decides on his fate.

And several court-watchers thought the young man probably made a strong impression on the jurors.

"I found this witness to be the most compelling witness so far, even more than the accuser," said legal analyst Jim Moret.

Jackson denies 10 charges that he molested his accuser at Neverland in February or March 2003, plied him with alcohol and conspired to hold him and his family prisoner.

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