- The Washington Times - Friday, November 21, 2003

LOS ANGELES (AP) — A lawyer who has tangled with Michael Jackson called yesterday for child welfare authorities to temporarily remove the pop star’s three children from his custody because of new child-molestation charges.

Gloria Allred’s demand came as quiet descended on Santa Barbara following Mr. Jackson’s media-saturated surrender Thursday.

An arrest warrant says Mr. Jackson committed lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14. The Santa Barbara district attorney has said he does not plan to file charges until after Thanksgiving.

After posting $3 million bail Thursday, Mr. Jackson returned to a Las Vegas-area hotel-casino, but his whereabouts Friday were not clear.

A spokeswoman for Green Valley Ranch in Henderson, Nev., declined comment on a report that Michael Jackson was seen leaving the hotel-casino about 4 a.m. yesterday.

The Jackson family was at the Las Vegas studio of CMX Productions Inc. yesterday, company spokesman Dean DeLorean said. He would not say whether Michael Jackson was among the group.

At a news conference yesterday, Miss Allred said she has twice asked child-welfare officials to investigate Mr. Jackson.

“I believe the children should be temporarily removed from Mr. Jackson’s care and custody because of the history of Michael Jackson with children … combined with present criminal allegations,” she said at a news conference.

Miss Allred cited statements Mr. Jackson has made about having sleepovers with children, a previous molestation charge and an incident in which he dangled his infant son outside the window of a German hotel last year.

In 1993 Miss Allred briefly represented a 13-year-old boy involved in a molestation charge that never led to criminal charges. The case reportedly ended with Mr. Jackson paying a multimillion-dollar civil settlement.

Mr. Jackson has three children: 6-year-old Prince Michael I, 5-year-old Paris and a baby, Prince Michael II. Little is known about the youngest child, whose mother has not been identified. Prince Michael I and Paris were born during his marriage to nurse Debbie Rowe, which ended in 1999.

Michael X. Dean, deputy director of Santa Barbara County Social Services, on Thursday declined to say whether there were plans to take Mr. Jackson’s children into custody, citing confidentiality rules.

Mr. Dean said that generally, criminal charges can prompt a child-welfare investigation, but he added that such an investigation is not automatic.

Media reports have said the reputed victim in the latest case is a 12- or 13-year-old cancer survivor who visited Mr. Jackson at his Neverland Ranch, a storybook playland where the singer, who has befriended several cancer victims, was known to hold sleepovers for children and share his bed with youngsters.


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