(CTN News) – In a significant legal development, two men who claim to have been sexually abused by the late pop icon Michael Jackson during their childhood have been granted the opportunity to reignite their legal pursuit against the singer’s associated companies.
Wade Robson and James Safechuck, both now in their 40s, assert that they were subjected to years of abuse by Michael Jackson during their adolescent years.
This ruling allows them to proceed with lawsuits that had previously been blocked, as they contend that Michael Jackson’s companies bore a responsibility to safeguard them.
Robson and Safechuck have alleged that the abuse took place throughout the late 1980s and early 1990s while they were guests at Jackson’s renowned Neverland ranch.
Their accusations garnered widespread attention after being featured in the 2019 documentary “Leaving Neverland,” a production vehemently opposed by Jackson’s family, who characterized it as a “public lynching” of the late artist’s reputation.
California Appeals Court Reverses Prior Rulings, Allowing Lawsuits Against Michael Jackson’s Entities
The legal trajectory took a pivotal turn when a Los Angeles judge, in 2020, ruled against Safechuck’s ability to sue Michael Jackson’s business entities, citing that the companies were not obligated to ensure his well-being. The following year, Robson faced a similar outcome from the same judge based on analogous grounds.
However, the recent decision by a California appeals court has diverged from these previous rulings. The court opined that “a corporation that facilitates the sexual abuse of children by one of its employees is not excused from an affirmative duty to protect those children merely because it is solely owned by the perpetrator of the abuse.”
This assertion is rooted in the belief that a corporate defendant, even if solely owned by the abuser, should not be absolved from the responsibility to safeguard vulnerable individuals.
Vince Finaldi, the legal representative for both Safechuck and Robson, welcomed the court’s decision, stating that it had rectified past “incorrect rulings in these cases, which were against California law and would have set a dangerous precedent that endangered children.”
In contrast, Jonathan Steinsapir, a lawyer for Michael Jackson’s estate, remained resolute in defending Michael Jackson’s innocence. Steinsapir maintained that the allegations contradicted “all credible evidence and independent corroboration.”