SANTA MARIA, Calif. — The mother of a 13-year-old boy who accused Michael Jackson of molesting him in 1993 described how a sobbing and trembling Jackson talked her into allowing her son to share his bed dozens of times, at home and on vacations to Monaco, Florida, Las Vegas and New York.
The mother, who was not named to protect her son's identity, said she initially refused her son's requests to stay in Jackson's bedroom, but relented after an emotional confrontation with the singer at a Las Vegas hotel.
Jackson told the mother that she should let her son sleep in his bedroom at the Mirage hotel, the mother said. Jackson had taken the family with him on vacation several months after meeting the mother at a Los Angeles rental car agency.
"He said, 'You don't trust me? We're a family.... Why aren't you allowing [your son] to stay with me?' " the mother testified.
The mother said she refused to let her son sleep with Jackson during earlier visits to the singer's Neverland ranch, but permitted him to stay in Jackson's room that night. The next day, Jackson took the family to a show and gave the mother a Cartier bracelet, she said.
For the next several months, Jackson and the boy were frequent companions, the mother said. The pop star traveled to the family's Santa Monica home and slept with the boy about 30 times, she said. He would leave when the boy went to school and return after school, she said. She also said she let him sleep with Jackson during unaccompanied visits to Neverland in the Santa Ynez Valley.
Jackson also continued to shower the mother with gifts, she said, including more jewelry and a $7,000 gift certificate to the Fred Segal boutique. He also gave her his credit card to use on shopping trips, she said.
Last week, a former Jackson security guard testified that he had seen the pop star perform a sex act on the same boy at Neverland.
Jackson, 46, is on trial for allegedly molesting a different Los Angeles boy four times in 2003. Evidence about his 1993 relationship is part of a prosecution strategy to show that the pop star has a history of molesting boys. If the jury finds him guilty of all charges, Jackson faces more than 20 years in prison.
The woman's son, now 25, is not expected to testify at Jackson's trial. A 1993 criminal investigation of Jackson's relationship with the boy was highly publicized, but the case unraveled after Jackson reportedly paid a settlement of more than $20 million to the family and the boy stopped cooperating with investigators.
After the Las Vegas trip, the mother said Jackson took the family on vacations to France and twice to Florida. Jackson also met the family in New York, where they had traveled for a wedding.
Each time, she said, Jackson slept with her son in his room and took a separate room for the mother and her daughter.
In August 1993, five months after the Las Vegas trip, the family told police they suspected Jackson had molested the boy.
Santa Barbara County Superior Court Judge Rodney S. Melville has prohibited prosecutors from disclosing the amount of the settlement to the jury.
Last week, a 24-year-old man, the son of Jackson's former maid, said the pop star also paid him a legal settlement after fondling him.
On Monday, the mother testified that she initially didn't think there was anything wrong with her son sleeping with Jackson. She ended up losing custody of the boy and has not spoken to him in 11 years, she said.
Santa Barbara County Dist. Atty. Tom Sneddon asked whether she regretted the decision she made to let her son start sleeping with Jackson. The woman blinked several times, appearing to fight back tears, before answering: "Very much so."
She said that she became concerned about her son's relationship with Jackson after the boy's behavior started to change. He became withdrawn, started dressing like the pop star and didn't want to spend time with his family.
Jackson did not accompany the family to the wedding in New York. But the woman said her son spent much of his time on the phone with Jackson. Eventually, the pop star traveled to New York and took a hotel room across the hall, she said. Her son moved into Jackson's room.
"I didn't like the situation," she said. "It was getting out of hand."
In earlier testimony Monday, prosecutors called to the stand former Jackson media spokesman Bob Jones, author of an upcoming book about the more than 16 years he worked with the pop star. The book is expected to include a passage in which Jones said he saw Jackson licking the boy's head during the flight home from Monaco.
Jones said he does not remember the incident, but said he mentioned it in an e-mail to his coauthor, Stacy Brown.
The testimony is significant because Jackson also reportedly licked the head of his current accuser during a 2003 plane trip.