Two men who claim to have been sexually abused by Michael Jackson as children may file a lawsuit against two of the late singer's companies, a California court has ruled.
Wade Robson and James Safechuck, who appeared on Leaving Neverland, a 2019 documentary, claimed that they were abused by Michael Jackson while at Neverland Ranch, when they were between seven and 10 years old, reported the Independent. The singer's family denied the allegations.
Michael Jackson, who died in 2009, was acquitted in a 2005 trial in which he was accused of abusing a 13-year-old boy.
Robson and Safechuck filed lawsuits in 2014, excluded by a lower court due to California's statute of limitations, which required child molestation to be filed before the victim's 26th birthday. But that law changed on January 1, extending the deadline to the 40th anniversary.
According to the court, which said it was not ruling on the veracity of the charges, the charges contained "a disturbing pattern of child sexual abuse of years" by the late singer.
“We are pleased that the court recognized California's strong protection for victims of sexual abuse under the new state law, which extends the statute of limitations. We look forward to sharing the facts of the terrible abuse of James Safechuck and Wade Robson with a jury, ”men's lawyer Vince Finaldi said after the court ruling.
Attorney Howard Weitzman, who represents Michael Jackson, said he was confident the two lawsuits would be dismissed.
"The court ruling has rekindled lawsuits against Michael Jackson's companies, which absurdly claim that Michael's employees are in some way responsible for a sexual abuse that never happened," he said.