A CHOREOGRAPHER who accused Michael Jackson of years of molestation cannot pursue his allegations against the singer’s estate because he waited too long to file the legal action, a judge has ruled.
Superior Court Judge Mitchell Beckloff wrote in his ruling on Tuesday that Wade Robson’s claim is untimely and should be dismissed. Mr Robson, 32, said he was repeatedly abused by Jackson over an seven-year span, beginning in 1990.
He had previously denied the pop superstar molested him and testified in Jackson’s defence at the singer’s criminal trial in 2005. At the trial, witnesses said they had seen Jackson molest Mr Robson, which he angrily denied to jurors on the stand.
“I’m very mad about it,” Mr Robson said at the time. “It’s not true and they put my name through the dirt. I’m really not happy about it.”
Mr Robson also spoke favourably about Jackson after the singer’s death in 2009. However, he sued Jackson’s estate in May 2013 over the molestation allegations.
Attorneys for Mr Robson said Jackson molested him over a seven-year period. Attorneys for Jackson’s estate have denied the allegations. Mr Robson’s attorney, Maryann Marzano, wrote in a statement that Judge Beckloff’s ruling will be appealed, and the claim pursued against Jackson’s business entities.
Jackson estate attorney, Howard Weitzman, praised the ruling and noted Mr Robson’s previous testimony about Jackson. “Mr. Robson testified under oath in a courtroom that Michael never did anything improper with him,” he said.
Ms Marzano, however, wrote that her client was incapable of filing his legal action any sooner due to psychological damage he suffered. She also noted that Judge Beckloff’s ruling did not make any determination about whether Mr Robson’s allegations were factual.
“We are confident that when all the facts are presented in civil court, there will be no doubt left about just what kind of sexual predator Jackson was,” Ms Marzano wrote.
Mr Robson was five when he met Jackson, and he spent the night at Neverland Ranch more than 20 times, sleeping in the singer’s bedroom on most visits, he told jurors at the trial that ended with Jackson’s acquittal.
He previously had told jurors that Jackson had “absolutely not” molested him during the trial.
Mr Robson, an Australian-born choreographer, has appeared on the TV series So You Think You Can Dance and worked with Britney Spears and other stars. Ms Marzano argued at an April hearing that the seriousness of the claims being lodged against Jackson’s estate warranted a full evidentiary hearing.
Jackson estate attorney, Jonathan Steinsapir, argued that the law does not allow liability for a person’s actions to transfer to their estate in perpetuity, and that Mr Robson missed his opportunity to file a claim.
The pop singer died at 50 while preparing for a series of comeback concerts dubbed “This Is It.” His estate benefits his mother and three children.
He was deeply in debt when he died, but a posthumous bounce in the popularity of his music has generated hundreds of millions of dollars.
Mr Robson, who said he suffered a mental breakdown in 2011, filed the suit — four years after the Jackson’s death — as a result of a breakthrough while in therapy.
He filed one of the last major claims against Jackson’s estate, although disputes with a former business manager, another man alleging underage sexual abuse, and the IRS remain unresolved.