Ex guardia de Jackson reveló orden de retener a joven en Neverland

SANTA MARIA, Calif. (Reuters) – A former security guard at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Valley Ranch testified on Wednesday that staff were instructed to keep the pop star’s teenage accuser from leaving the property.
Brian Barron, a police officer who moonlighted as a security guard at Neverland from 1997 to 2004, said the notice was posted in a ranch security office in early 2003. That was around the time the boy and his family said they were held prisoner by Jackson and his aides.
«It simply stated (the boy) is not allowed off the property,» Barron said.
He testified that the note was written on a dry-erase board and stayed there for about a week. He understood it to mean «that we weren’t to allow him off the property without some type of permission.»
Barron’s testimony was intended to bolster an assertion by the prosecution that the family was held after the broadcast of a British documentary, featuring the accuser, in which the 46-year-old pop star defended his practice of sharing his bed with young boys.
Members of the boy’s family have testified that they were coerced into making a so-called rebuttal video in which they rejected any suggestion of improper conduct by Jackson and spoke about him in glowing terms.
On cross examination Barron conceded it was a policy at Neverland to make sure children did not leave the property unattended.
A security log contained a similar notation for Feb. 19 of that year: «The kids are not to leave per Joe. Kids meaning (the accuser and his siblings).»
«Joe» was not identified in court.
Jackson is charged with molesting the boy, then 13, at Neverland in February or March of 2003, plying him with alcohol so he could abuse him and conspiring to commit child abduction, extortion and false imprisonment. The singer, who has pleaded not guilty, faces more than 20 years in prison if convicted.
Barron was called to the witness stand as prosecutors wind down their case against Jackson and make way for the defense case. Defense lawyers have said they will call some of the most famous people in America, including basketball star Kobe Bryant, singers Diana Ross and Stevie Wonder and TV talk-show host Jay Leno in Jackson’s defense.
Defense lawyer Robert Sanger used most of his cross-examination to take Barron meticulously through the security logs for late 2002 and early 2003, which showed the family coming to Neverland and spending many nights there.
The logs noted the family’s departure at 1:38 a.m. on Feb. 12, 2003 in a Rolls Royce driven by ranch manager Jesus Salas — a trip the accuser’s mother described as a desperate late-night escape from Neverland.
Sanger suggested the logs showed they were not «spirited away» in the middle of the night but had simply been checked out by security staff and allowed to go on their way.
The logs also offered a rare glimpse into the comings and goings at Neverland, noting the arrival in June of civil rights activist Al Sharpton and several senior television executives in February.
On Feb. 20, the logs noted that a «Miss E. Taylor» was due to arrive by «chopper» — an apparent reference to Jackson’s friend Elizabeth Taylor being expected in a helicopter.
Barron acknowledged that he had never witnessed any criminal behavior at Neverland and said Jackson’s accuser had once crashed a golf cart there.
© Reuters 2005. All Rights Reserved.

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