James Safechuck, who was Michael Jackson's "constant companion" as a child, claims in a sworn statement obtained by RadarOnline.com that the pop star stole his childhood through years of sexual abuse.
Safechuck, now 36, was 10 when he met Jackson while working with him on a 1987 Pepsi commercial. The music icon "was everything to me and my life" when the sexual abuse was happening between 1988 and 1992, he swears in the statement.
The dramatic declaration, which details allegations of two decades of intimidation and threats to keep quiet, is intended to convince a Los Angeles judge that Safechuck had good reason to wait nearly five years after the singer's death to file a civil claim against Jackson's estate.
California law gives people with claims just a year after a death to bring them to probate court, but Safechuck says it wasn't until he learned Wade Robson, another man making similar allegations, had filed a lawsuit that he decided to get psychiatric help.
"I have finally come to know and appreciate now, after a little over a year of intensive therapy and psychiatric treatment, that this relationship was a predatory and wholly improper one, and one whereby the decedent (Jackson) used my trust and love of him as a means to victimize and sexually molest me," Safechuck states.
The therapy helped undo the psychological damage Jackson inflicted with "subtle" threats that lasted up to the last years of Jackson's life, he claims. "He continually brainwashed and drilled into me that what he was doing to me was 'love' and that I should deny that anything he had done to me ever happened," the declaration says. "His constant drilling made me believe it was alright and I was scared and intimidated from ever telling anyone about it, doing anything about it or even understanding that it was something wrong."
Jackson's "brainwashing" was so effective that "I never knew that what he did to me was sexual abuse," Safechuck claims. "I continued into adulthood not understanding that what he did and what we did together was wrong."
Jackson never threatened "actual physical violence," but he "told me over and over again that my life would be finished if anyone found out about what we have done, and I believed him," he says.
Safechuck says when Jordan Chandler's family sued Jackson in 1993 for alleged sex abuse, Jackson's lawyers prepared him to be a witness who would deny any abuse. Jackson lawyers "rehearsed questions and answers with me, and I did what I was told." That case ended when Jackson paid the Chandlers a reported $15 million settlement.
Safechuck, who blames Jackson's abuse and intimidation for causing him to have panic attacks later in college, says it got worse when the singer went on trial for child molestation charges in 2004 and 2005. He felt "under siege" because of reporters who tried to get him to talk, Safechuck says, admitting, "I increased my use of drugs to numb the terror and pain I was experiencing."
Jackson "became very angry and began to overtly threaten me" when he refused to testify on his behalf during the criminal trial, Safechuck claims. He even got a call from the singer's mother, Katherine Jackson, "asking if something had happened between" him and her son, he says. "I told her I was OK and never answered her question."
He later told his own mother that Jackson was a "bad man," but "I didn't verbalize anything specific" about Jackson's abuse, he says. He also never talked to his father about it.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder was "in full force" by 2006, causing him to "lapse into a severe depression for several years," he claims.
According to the statement, Jackson continued to call him about twice a year in his final years, "either when he was intoxicated and ask me questions about my sex life; or he would talk about how we were 'going to do something great together' soon." He saw that as Jackson's "way of subtly threatening and intimidating me into 'keeping quiet,'" he claims.
When Safechuck learned of Robson's lawsuit against the Jackson estate in May 2013, "the nagging fear of exposure again reared up in me and I thought 'Oh, no, now I'm exposed,'"the report states, and the news sent him into "severe panic for a week."
"I began thinking for the first time that I needed to seek psychiatric help," he claims. "I try to look like I have 'it together', but I struggle on a daily basis with panic, depression and anxiety. Until I began therapy, I didn't realize how 'sick' it was that decedent had done the things he did to me as a child."
Judge Mitchell Beckloff is expected to make a decision later this year regarding whether the time limit on such claims should be waived for Safechuck and Robson, which could set the stage for a dramatic trial of Jackson's alleged sex abuse of children.