LaToya Jackson Defends Michael

LaToya Jackson is looking for a fresh start by first clearing up her past. The middle child of the famed family is speaking out about her life and defending her brother Michael while preparing to release a new album, "Starting Over."

In an exclusive interview airing Friday night on "20/20," she tells ABC News correspondent Don Dahler her brother Michael is simply misunderstood.

"I love my brother … Michael is one of the sweetest persons on this earth. You have no idea. He is so misunderstood," said LaToya, 48.

Michael Jackson is awaiting trial on child molestation charges. He has pleaded not guilty and denies any wrongdoing.

More than a decade ago, when Michael was first involved in a scandal involving sexual molestation allegations, LaToya made comments suggesting she believed he might have done it. But she is now defending her sibling.

LaToya says the same sheltered upbringing that she believes led to her troubles has also contributed to her brother's. "He's been so sheltered from the world that it's to extremes … He is so, I believe, well, I know, disconnected with the outside world, that he doesn't understand how they view him, and it's really sad," she said.

She says her brother loves children, but his motives for spending time with them are misunderstood.

"I don't think that he will stop seeing children because … when you don't see anything wrong that you're doing, it's like, 'but I'm doing nothing wrong,'" said LaToya. "He loves children. We all love children … It's been quite difficult, having this great love for children, because people take it the wrong way, and the results are upon us today, as we can see."

LaToya also takes viewers behind closed doors with an explicit account of the man she alleges physically and emotionally abused her for 10 years. "He grabbed me and said I own you," she says about her ex-husband, Jack Gordon, whom she says turned her publicly against her brother Michael and the rest of the Jackson family.

She also tells Dahler that Gordon once "took my head and he started banging it on the corner of the table in the room and just banging it and banging it."

Gordon has denied LaToya's allegations that he beat her.

The report also features an interview with Katherine Jackson, mother of Michael and LaToya.

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