- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 11, 2005

SANTA MARIA, Calif. (AP) — “Home Alone” star Macaulay Culkin denounced the molestation accusations against Michael Jackson as “absolutely ridiculous” yesterday and testified that, contrary to prosecution claims, he never was victimized during his boyhood visits to the pop star’s ranch.

The 24-year-old actor confidently rejected suggestions that he might have been molested in his sleep without knowing about it and dismissed a prosecution display of sex magazines seized from Mr. Jackson’s home, saying he used to keep issues of Playboy under his own bed.

When defense attorney Thomas Mesereau Jr. asked Mr. Culkin whether he ever was molested by Mr. Jackson, he replied, “Not at all.”

Mr. Culkin was the third young man to testify at Mr. Jackson’s child molestation trial that as boys they slept with Mr. Jackson at his Neverland ranch and weren’t molested.

Mr. Culkin testified that he and Mr. Jackson were drawn together by their common experience as child performers.

“Anyone who was a child performer, we keep an eye out for each other,” he said.

Mr. Culkin became part of the case when prosecutors were allowed to present testimony to suggest Mr. Jackson has a pattern of abusing boys. The testimony included an ex-chef who said he saw Mr. Jackson with a hand up Mr. Culkin’s shorts as the singer held the boy up to a video game.

Mr. Culkin, the godfather to two of Mr. Jackson’s children, appeared relaxed and answered questions directly during less than 90 minutes of testimony.

Mr. Culkin testified that he was 9 or 10 when he met Mr. Jackson and that he slept in Mr. Jackson’s bed several times between the ages of 10 and 14, sometimes with other boys. He said the sleepovers weren’t planned and that he and others simply fell asleep when they were tired.

Senior Deputy District Attorney Ron Zonen suggested that Mr. Culkin could have been molested while he was asleep.

“I find that unlikely,” Mr. Culkin said. “I think I’d realize that something like that was happening to me.”

At one point, Mr. Culkin described Mr. Jackson as “very childlike.”

“He liked doing the things we did. He liked playing the arcade games, although he wasn’t as good as we were,” he said.

Prosecutors seized on the “childlike” comment and on another comment about how guests in Mr. Jackson’s room were free to look at memorabilia.

The prosecution has shown the jury dozens of sexually explicit magazines found in his room during a November 2003 search and have said that Mr. Jackson showed the material to his accuser and the boy’s brother.

Asked whether he thought it was childlike to have such material, Mr. Culkin said: “When I was 12 or 13 years old, I had a couple of Playboys under my bed.”

Mr. Culkin faces a court hearing next month on two misdemeanor drug counts in Oklahoma City. He was arrested Sept. 17 after police said they found more than a half-ounce of marijuana and several tablets of the prescription medication Xanax in a car in which he was a passenger.

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