Tags: What | Were | Those | Parents | Thinking?

What Were Those Parents Thinking?

Monday, 02 February 2004 12:00 AM

I certainly don't read Vanity Fair, but this edition has an article in it that has been picked up by a variety of television and radio news operations to the point where it has penetrated my consciousness.

The article is about Michael Jackson. The reporter has apparently uncovered a whole new series of allegations concerning Jackson's sexual conduct with boys as well as the alleged fact that he served alcoholic beverages to minors. The piece details Jackson's own problems with alcohol and his time spent in detox facilities.

Now, if a reporter for Vanity Fair were able to uncover a number of new cases, one must wonder why the district attorney handling the current case has been unable to do so. Jackson seems to be charged with the original offenses alone. If the Vanity Fair reporter is correct, Jackson could be charged with a lot more, which might make the D.A.'s case stronger.

Let us leave that issue aside. That is for law enforcement to worry about. What needs further discussion are the parents who have permitted their children to spend time alone with Michael Jackson.

Before the first well-publicized allegation took place, which was apparently bought off with a $26 million settlement, it might be understandable if parents allowed their boys to spend time with Jackson. Although he was always strange, he had a reputation for being generous and for helping young kids break into show business.

And while one wonders if Jackson was engaging in questionable activities long before he settled that lawsuit, it is not surprising that none of the boys said anything. I speak from personal experience.

A friend of mine in the transportation business met our oldest son during a streetcar charter my colleague Bill Lind and I sponsored in the late 1970s. This fellow befriended my son and the two seemed to get along well. This fellow was a bachelor and we all thought he was lonely and just wanted to mentor a young man. They went a couple of places and our son seemed to have a good time.

Then one day our son told me that if this friend called again to tell him that our son wasn't interested in going anywhere again. I didn't really suspect anything, but I did question our son whether anything was wrong. He said no, he just didn't get along with this fellow.

I thought little more of it and when my friend called to make arrangements to take our son on another excursion, I told him that the boy was just too tied up with schoolwork to take the time. His feelings seemed to be hurt and he did try a second time, but when I made another excuse he got the hint and never asked again. It wasn't until 20-some years later that our son told us that this so-called friend had made sexual advances toward him and that was why he wanted to break off the relationship.

I was astonished. I asked why we weren't told about this at the time and our son said that he was embarrassed. Also, my son "knew" me and he knew that I would probably have the fellow put in jail and he didn't want to cause that kind of trouble. So, from my own experience I can understand if other boys didn't tell their parents.

But once there was all that incredible publicity surrounding the initial lawsuit and potential prosecution, there was absolutely no excuse for any parent to leave his child in Jackson's care. From that day forward any parent who would permit his son to be alone with Michael Jackson should be lined up in the public square and horsewhipped. Those parents put their sons in harm's way. They may have damaged them psychologically for life.

I have listened to and read the various reasons given by parents in the interim decade who permitted their boys to sleep in Michael Jackson's bedroom. Some have said they were poor and they thought Jackson might help them out financially. Others said they were looking for a big break for their talented boys. The worst of all was a mother who said her son was sick "and I thought maybe Michael could cure him." So Michael Jackson is Jesus Christ now?

If the Vanity Fair article is correct, then Jackson gave under-age boys wine to drink. White wine was called "Jesus juice." Red wine was called "Jesus' blood." So, in addition to everything else, Jackson may have been engaging in sacrilegious activity as well.

God entrusts to parents the souls of their offspring. What an awesome responsibility it is. Even though all five of ours have turned out well, how I wish I could do some things over again. How I wish I could undo the mistakes I made. How I so wish I could undo any harm I may have caused them. I count on God's mercy to overcome any damage I might have inadvertently caused them as a parent. As I say, I am so blessed because they all turned out OK. Still, any respectable parent is concerned about the consequences of what they might have done.

Only God can judge what was in the hearts of parents who willingly turned their sons over to Michael Jackson. Many of those boys have no doubt told their parents that nothing happened. They may or may not be telling the truth. Having heard of what a living hell it has been for the boys who have stepped forward, no one could be surprised if they want no part of that.

Others may be scared. Various media sources indicate that the Jackson staff has made it clear to boys that if they saw anything they must keep their mouths shut. Most boys would get the message.

Whatever gain these parents thought they were getting by making their sons part of Neverland, it wasn't worth it. Not by a long shot.

In this country, a person is supposed to be innocent until proven guilty. Certainly Michael Jackson deserves a fair trial. He might walk. If he does, any parents still willing to supply their sons to the former King of Pop should go on the Internet and get the article in Vanity Fair. If only a small part of that piece is true, it gives parents more than sufficient justification to keep their kids away.

They may not believe it, but one day they will be accountable for what they do. Let us hope for their sake and our own that God's mercy greatly overrides His justice.

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I certainly don't read Vanity Fair, but this edition has an article in it that has been picked up by a variety of television and radio news operations to the point where it has penetrated my consciousness. The article is about Michael Jackson.The reporter has...
What,Were,Those,Parents,Thinking?
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2004-00-02
Monday, 02 February 2004 12:00 AM
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