Santa Barbara authorities set up a tip line for anonymous parties who have information that may help them prosecute Michael Jackson, but the line has yielded only 70 calls so far, few with any relevant information and none from other potential accusers, the New York Times reports. However, former Santa Barbara sheriff Jim Thomas tells CNN that in 1993, the first time a boy leveled molestation accusations against the singer, there was a second accuser as well, one whose statement was audiotaped.
The second child’s allegations were not as severe as those made by the first boy, CNN says, citing sources close to the investigation. Thomas says that boy was 9 or 10 at the time, that the child ultimately said he was too ”ashamed” to testify, and that his parents didn’t want to subject their family to a ”take no prisoners” defense mounted by Jackson’s legal team. ”So that never went forward,” Thomas says. (The first boy who accused Jackson that year also declined to testify, and he received a multimillion-dollar out-of-court settlement from Jackson in a civil case. Criminal charges were never filed against Jackson on either boy’s behalf.)
In the current case, however, the accuser cited by Thomas could be compelled to testify as a corroborating witness, since he is no longer a child. Jackson faces arraignment on molestation charges on Jan. 9 (he has denied any wrongdoing, as he did in 1993), though Santa Barbara prosecutors have yet to file formal charges against him, leading to speculation that the case against him is weak, the Times reports. Santa Barbara District Attorney Thomas Sneddon dismissed the Times report, telling CNN: ”Everything will become clear when the charges are filed,” sometime in mid-December. Jackson attorney Mark Geragos did not respond to EW.com’s request for comment by press time.