LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – A new sexual molestation investigation of singer Michael Jackson has been prompted by claims brought by an 18-year-old said to have recovered repressed memories of an assault over a decade ago, sources close to the case say.
The Los Angeles Police Department announced on Tuesday that it is investigating claims that Jackson sexually assaulted a man in the late 1980s — allegations that Jackson’s lawyers have called baseless.
Separate sources close to the case told Reuters on Wednesday that the alleged victim, who is now 18, recently recalled repressed memories of an assault from when he was 3 to 5 years old. Police have refused to reveal details about the accuser or his allegations.
Jackson, 45, is currently facing child molestation charges in Santa Barbara County, north of Los Angeles, involving a boy under the age of 14. He has denied those charges.
The sources said that Beverly Hills psychiatrist Carole Lieberman, who filed a child abuse complaint last year with Santa Barbara County Protective Services against the pop singer, counselled the new victim and helped him remember the alleged assault.
The sources also said that feminist attorney Gloria Allred, a prominent critic of Jackson’s lifestyle, was also involved in bringing the recent complaint to police.
Both women told Reuters they could neither confirm nor deny their involvement in the case.
Allred added, “If there’s an individual who came forward, I’m glad that law enforcement is conducting an investigation.”
Lieberman said, “If I am someone’s psychiatrist, (I am) not able to disclose the name of a patient. … I am ethically and legally bound to not comment at this time.”
One legal expert, attorney Gregory Brenner, said if Allred and Lieberman were involved, Jackson’s lawyer Mark Geragos could argue that the evidence was tainted and prejudicial.
Geragos declined to comment other than to reiterate an earlier statement that the latest allegation “appears to be nothing more than part of an ongoing campaign to smear Michael with unfounded, scurrilous and ridiculous accusations.”
“In my opinion, one has to be incredibly suspect of recovered memory,” Beverly Hills psychiatrist Dr. Howard Shapiro told Reuters.
“The younger the subject was (when the incident occurred), the less they’re able to make sense of the experience, and when they remember it later they may put an interpretation on it,” he said.