A lawsuit filed against one of Michael Jackson’s companies by one of the men who accused the late singer of sexual abuse has been dismissed.
James Safechuck, who featured in the 2019 documentary Leaving Neverland, sought damages from MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures, who he accused of “facilitating” the singer’s alleged sexual abuse of children.
On Wednesday (October 21), judge Mark Young ruled that neither firm had “a duty of care” toward Safechuck and could not be held responsible for the alleged abuse.
Safechuck, who is now 42, alleges that the pop icon began abusing him when he was just 10 years old.
As the BBC reports, Safechuck filed his suit against MJJ Productions and MJJ Ventures in 2014, claiming that both companies “were created to, and did, facilitate Jackson’s sexual abuse of children”.
In his ruling, California judge Young said that Jackson controlled the companies and their employees, meaning that they were not able to control the star’s alleged actions.
Reports have claimed that Safechuck now plans to appeal the decision.
Safechuck outlined the alleged abuse in Leaving Neverland alongside Wade Robson, who alleged he was also molested as a child in the early 1990s.
Both men say they were befriended by the singer and abused at his Neverland ranch in Santa Barbara, California between the ages of 7 and 10.
Dan Reed, who directed the 2019 documentary, is said to be filming a sequel which will focus on the fallout from the first film and the intense backlash it attracted from some of Jackson’s biggest fans. He has reportedly faced legal challenges over the sequel from both MJJ productions and MJJ Ventures.
Jackson, one of the best-selling artists of all time, reached an out of court settlement of $25 million in 1994 with the family of Jordan Chandler, who had accused him of molesting the youngster.
A case file was closed several months later after prosecutors cited a lack of evidence to proceed without testimony from the Chandler Family.
In December 2003, Jackson was also charged with seven counts of child molestation and two counts of intoxicating a minor with alcoholic drinks, with the charges related to 13-year-old Gavin Arvizo.
Jackson denied the charges and was acquitted in 2005 after a lengthy four-and-a-half month long trial.