A young cousin of Michael Jackson testified in the pop star’s child molestation trial today that he saw Jackson’s accuser and the boy’s brother fondle themselves in a guest cottage at the singer’s Neverland ranch.
The defence elicited the testimony in an apparent effort to show that the accuser engaged in sexual activity on his own.
Rijo Jackson said he was staying with the brothers one night in 2003 when they turned a television to a station showing naked women, began masturbating and suggested he do the same.
“I said I didn’t want to ’cause it was nasty,” said the witness, who was 10 years old at the time.
On cross-examination by prosecutor Ron Zonen, the boy said he went to Michael Jackson’s bedroom to sleep after the incident and told the pop star what the boys were watching on TV.
“He didn’t believe it. He thought they were cool and they wouldn’t do that,” Rijo Jackson said.
Zonen asked whether he told Jackson about the masturbation and the witness said he had not.
“I didn’t wanna like tell him ’cause I was scared,” Rijo Jackson said.
Jackson, 46, is accused of molesting a 13-year-old boy in February or March 2003, plying the boy with wine and conspiring to hold him and his family captive.
Prosecutors claim the conspiracy was intended to get the family to make a video rebutting a TV documentary in which the accuser appeared with Jackson and the pop star said he allowed children to sleep in his bed but that it was non-sexual.
Rijo Jackson also testified that he once saw the boys take wine that had been delivered to Michael Jackson’s master bedroom.
He said the wine was delivered to the downstairs area of the room and they offered to take it upstairs to the singer.
The witness said Michael Jackson was in a bathroom when chef’s assistant Angel Vivanco brought in the wine with the cork still in the bottle. He said the brothers took the wine upstairs and that when he next saw the bottle the cork was removed and some of the wine was gone.
Rijo Jackson said he didn’t tell his cousin because he wasn’t sure the boys drank the wine.
Prosecutors contend Jackson gave the boys wine and showed them adult materials as a precursor to sex, but the defence contends the boys were troublesome and got those things on their own.
Rijo Jackson also testified he saw the boys steal items from drawers including money belonging to a chef. He also said he saw them run out of ranch manager Jesus Salas’ office with money he believed they had taken.
The witness said he didn’t tell Michael Jackson about the alleged stealing because the singer was often away. He said he did try to tell a maid about money being stolen from the kitchen.
yesterday, Simone Jackson, a 16-year-old cousin of the singer said she once saw the boys steal wine from a kitchen at Neverland in February 2003.
In other testimony yesterday, Los Angeles county social worker Irene Lavern Peters testified that she met with the accuser and his family during the time they claim they were Jackson’s captives and they praised him and denied any sexual abuse.
Peters said she met with the mother and her three children on February 20, 2003, after the airing of a documentary that drew attention to Jackson’s relationship with the boy who is now his accuser.
Peters said she specifically questioned the accuser about his relationship with Jackson.
“I asked him if he had ever been sexually abused by Michael Jackson and he became upset. He said, ’Everybody thinks Michael Jackson sexually abused me. He never touched me,”’ she said.
She said the accuser told her Jackson “was very kind to him and treated him like a father.”
Jackson denies all charges and the trial continues.