Exclusive: Michael Jackson Says He Wanted to Help Accuser Have Childhood

Michael Jackson indicates in an audiotape obtained exclusively by ABC News that he wanted to help the boy at the center of his child molestation trial with feelings of being cheated out of a childhood by his cancer diagnosis and treatment.


"I've had doctors, and his [Jackson's accuser's] doctors say it's a miracle how he's doing better, and that's why I know that this magic of love is so important," Jackson said in a 2000 audiotape recorded by his one-time spiritual adviser Rabbi Shmuley Boteach. "We -- he's -- he was cheated out of his childhood, and I think I can reflect a lot on that, because of my past."

Jackson is awaiting a verdict in his child molestation trial. "The King of Pop," 46, is accused of molesting a now-15-year-old boy, a cancer survivor, who spent time at Neverland ranch and appeared with him in the 2003 British documentary "Living With Michael Jackson." He faces 10 charges that include felony conspiracy with 28 overt acts involving child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion. Jackson has denied all the charges, and his defense has argued that the alleged victim and his family made up the allegations in an attempt to get money.

Jackson's representatives refused to comment on the tapes after being contacted by ABC News.

Boteach told ABC News that he taped 30 hours of conversation with Jackson in 2000 to be used in a book aimed at helping parents. In the tapes, Jackson reflected on the young cancer victim who would later accuse him of child molestation. He indicated to Boteach that he didn't see his friendship with the boy -- and other children -- as just merely helping others in need of help.

"I feel it's something really, really in my heart that I'm supposed to do," Jackson said. "And I feel so loved by giving my love, and I know that's what they need."

'I Cannot Live Without Them'

Jackson told Boteach -- as he has said in other interviews -- that he would kill himself if he was told he couldn't spend time with children anymore.

"I cannot live without them," Jackson says. "If you told me right now that 'Michael, you can never see another child,' I would kill myself, I swear to you … I swear because I [would] have nothing else to live for."

In the tape, Jackson says that he felt lonely at arguably the peak of his professional success and popularity -- during the days of his record-breaking "Thriller" album.

"I was looking for people to talk to," he said. "I was so lonely, I would cry in my room upstairs. And I'd sit. I'd walk down the street. I remember really saying to people, 'Would you be my friend?'"

After the recordings, Jackson and Boteach had a falling out. But Boteach said he believed at the time of the conversations that Jackson's empathy for children was inspiring and that the singer was a wonderful advocate for children.

"This was a man with genuine feelings about kids and how they need to be loved," he told ABC News. "He made me a better parent."

Boteach says he was later shocked and disappointed by recent revelations and testimony that Jackson had shared his bed with boys and by the allegations that he had molested boys and shared porn and alcohol with them. He said he does not know whether Jackson is a child molester but he thinks it was morally wrong for the singer to share his bed with children other than his own.

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