Michael Jackson Wanted on Child Sex Charges
Police spent over 14 hours searching Jackson’s Neverland Ranch on Tuesday (see story).
Jackson was not at home when the ranch was raided; he was in Las Vegas shooting a music video.
Details are a bit sketchy at this point, as police are remaining pretty tight lipped about the situation. They have not disclosed whether Jackson is accused of molesting one or multiple children. There are media reports that the charges involve a 12-year-old boy, a report that police will neither confirm nor deny.
"An arrest warrant for Mr. Jackson has been issued on multiple counts of child molestation. The bail amount on the warrant has been set at $3 million," Santa Barbara County Sheriff Jim Anderson said.
"In a very short period of time there will be charges filed against Mr. Jackson," Anderson added.
Jackson will face between 3 and 8 years in jail if he is charged with a California law that deals with lewd acts with children under the age of 14. The penal code outlines the behavior as criminal if an act is performed "with the intent of arousing, appealing to, or gratifying ... lust, passions or sexual desires."
Stuart Backerman, a spokesman for Jackson issued a statement denouncing the charges, "The outrageous allegations against Michael Jackson are false. Michael would never harm a child in any way. These scurrilous and totally unfounded allegations will be proven false in a courtroom.
"We are disturbed by the levity of the environment surrounding the announcement of these very serious charges. When the evidence is presented and the allegations proven to be malicious and wholly unfounded, Michael will be able to put this nightmare behind him.
"Michael through his attorneys, led by Mark Geragos, has already made arrangements with the district attorney to return to Santa Barbara to immediately confront and prove these charges unfounded."
Ten years ago Jackson faced similar accusations from a 14-year-old boy. But the boy refused to testify against Jackson so authorities were unable to press charges or arrest Jackson. The boy’s family ultimately reached a multi-million dollar out-of-court settlement with Jackson.
Authorities state that this time around the circumstances are different. "We have a cooperative victim in this particular proceeding" Santa Barbara District Attorney Thomas Sneddon said at a news conference.
Sneddon also pointed out that the because of the original allegations, the laws have since been revamped giving the DA more to work with.
The D.A. laughed off Jackson’s allegations that the charges were timed to coincided with the release of his new greatest hits package. "Jackson himself, I believe, has said this was all done to ruin his new CD that was coming ... like, the sheriff and I are really into that kind of music," said Sneddon.