A judge on Monday dismissed a lawsuit brought by a man who accused the late Michael Jackson of sexually abusing him as a boy in the “Leaving Neverland” documentary.
Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Mark A. Young allowed Jackson’s estate request to dismiss Wade Robson’s 2013 lawsuit. The judge said two Jackson entertainment companies involved in the lawsuit had no legal obligation to protect Robson from Jackson.
“There is no evidence to support the claimant’s claim that the defendants exercised control over Jackson,” the judge wrote. “The evidence further shows that the defendants had no legal capacity to control Jackson, because Jackson had full and total ownership of the defendants.”
The dismissal came after the judge dismissed a similar lawsuit in October by James Safechuck. Both men have made their allegations before, but they were highlighted and given renewed attention in the documentary, which premiered at Sundance before gaining wide appeal on HBO.
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Robson and Safechuck’s lawyer Vince Finaldi said the ruling had “fatal flaws” and would be appealed.
“If allowed, the move would set a dangerous precedent that would leave thousands of children working in the entertainment industry vulnerable to sexual abuse by people in places of power,” Finaldi said in a statement.
Robson, now a 38-year-old choreographer, met Jackson when he was 5. He went on to appear in Jackson music videos and record music on his label.
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His lawsuit alleged that Jackson had assaulted him for a period of seven years and that as an employee of Jackson, the two companies Jackson had created had a duty to protect him in the same way that a Boy Scout or a school would. need to protect children from their leaders. But the judge concluded that the companies were only legal entities controlled by Jackson, not organizations that could control him.
Another judge had previously dismissed lawsuits brought by Robson and Safechuck in 2017, concluding that the statute of limitations had expired. But an appeals court revived lawsuits in 2019 after California Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a new law giving those who allege child sexual abuse more time to prosecute.
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Jackson’s estate has categorically and repeatedly denied abusing either of the boys and taking legal action against HBO which is now in private arbitration.
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“Wade Robson has spent the past 8 years pursuing frivolous claims in various lawsuits against Michael Jackson’s estate and associated companies,” Jackson’s estate attorney Jonathan Steinsapir said in a statement. after Monday’s decision. “Yet a judge once again ruled that Robson’s claims were unfounded, that no trial was necessary.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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