Police search Michael Jackson's estate. Santa Barbara sheriffs probe the premises as part of a criminal investigation

By Liane Bonin
Updated January 01, 2004 at 05:00 AM EST
Michael Jackson: Carlo Allegri/Getty Images/NewsCom

It’s not so good to be the King of Pop these days. Santa Barbara sheriff’s deputies paid a visit to Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch on Tuesday to serve a search warrant. A department spokesperson told Reuters the warrant was ”part of an ongoing criminal investigation.” Officials from the city’s district attorney’s office were also present.

Police have not revealed the reasons for the search, which continued past the two hour mark. However, Court TV has reported that the investigation stems from alleged sexual abuse charges leveled against Jackson by a 12-year-old boy, but that has not been confirmed. It is unknown whether Jackson was on the premises at the time of the search.

Jackson has been the subject of intense public scrutiny over the last year. The media harshly criticized the star in Nov. 2002 after he dangled his infant son, Prince Michael II, over the balcony of a Berlin hotel. He also revealed to reporter Martin Bashir in an interview (which later aired on ABC last February) that he has shared his Neverland bedroom with young boys.

In 1992, Jackson settled a lawsuit with the family of a 14-year-old boy who allegedly claimed Jackson had molested him. No criminal charges were ever filed.

So far, there’s no word on whether this will have any impact on Jackson’s upcoming CBS special, ”Michael Jackson: The Number Ones,” which airs Nov. 26. His ”Number Ones” CD and DVD and his new single ”One More Chance” were both released today. Undoubtedly, this wasn’t the press hubbub he was hoping for.