I saw Jackson molest boy, aged 11, claims former ranch guard

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The Independent US

Michael Jackson faced the most damaging testimony yet in his child molestation case, as a former security guard at his Neverland ranch told jurors he had seen the entertainer performing oral sex on an 11-year-old boy in the singer's bathroom.

Michael Jackson faced the most damaging testimony yet in his child molestation case, as a former security guard at his Neverland ranch told jurors he had seen the entertainer performing oral sex on an 11-year-old boy in the singer's bathroom.

Ralph Chacon, who worked at Neverland from 1991 until 1994, described in graphic detail how he had peered through the bathroom window to make sure that nothing was amiss and saw Mr Jackson and the boy, both naked, kissing and groping each other after sharing a shower.

"What did you see going on?" the Santa Barbara County district attorney, Tom Sneddon, asked him.

"Mr Jackson was caressing the boy. The boy's hair," Mr Chacon replied. "He moved down and started kissing him." The former security guard said Mr Jackson kissed the boy on the face and sucked his nipples, then moved further down his body. "He put the little boy's penis in his mouth," he added.

"Did you actually see that?" Mr Sneddon asked.

"Yes," Mr Chacon replied.

Mr Jackson's kisses, he said, were "very passionate" and his hands were "all over" the boy's body. He said he had a clear view, because the lights were on and the window was large enough to see Mr Jackson to the left and the boy to the right. Mr Chacon said he only thought to look in because the pair had been in the bathroom a long time and he wanted to make sure nothing was wrong.

Mr Chacon named the boy as Jordy Chandler, who subsequently reached an out-of-court settlement with Mr Jackson for more than $20m (£11m). As part of the settlement, all criminal charges were dropped. Mr Chandler, now in his twenties, has refused to have anything to do with the current trial.

Some of the graphic detail presented in court yesterday was contained in a sealed affidavit filed by Chandler and his father at the time, detailing numerous alleged sexual contacts with Mr Jackson, which subsequently found its way into the public domain. However, Mr Chacon's testimony was the first indication that anybody else had witnessed the alleged sex acts.

Mr Jackson's team of defence lawyers now face the challenge of presenting the jury with a compelling reason why Mr Chacon would be lying. They have previously alleged that a group of Jackson employees including Mr Chacon developed a grudge against their former employer.

Even they, however, would acknowledge that the trial has taken a dramatic turn for the worse for their client ever since Judge Rodney Melville ruled last week that he would allow testimony relating to prior allegations of child sexual abuse against Mr Jackson.

By airing details from the Chandler case, and from as many as four others, Mr Sneddon hopes to establish a pattern of behaviour that will lend greater credence to the allegations at hand, concerning the 13-year-old recovering cancer victim, Gavin Arviso.

Earlier in the week, another alleged victim, Jason Francia, broke down in tears as he described being molested from the ages of seven to 10 during tickling games that led to fondling of his genitals. Mr Francia's testimony was backed by his mother, who was a maid at Neverland in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

Mr Jackson's lawyer, Tom Mesereau, sought to establish that the Francias were goaded into their accusations by over-zealous prosecutors and tempted by money they were offered by the media for interviews.

The consensus of legal observers, however, was that the Francias' testimony was too powerful to dismiss completely - considerably more powerful, in fact, than that of the Arviso family, whose acknowledged lies and inconsistencies were pulled apart by Mr Mesereau with shows of courtroom brilliance.

Mr Jackson denies all the charges of molestation.

The trial continues.

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