Maid Claims Jackson ‘Rewarded’ Her For Silence About Abuse
LOS ANGELES (AP) _ Michael Jackson’s former maid claims the singer rewarded her for keeping silent about naked interludes with young boys, but that she quit her job as her disgust grew and after she caught him with her own son.
A crush of reporters and photographers were on hand this morning when Blanca Francia arrived to give a deposition at the offices of attorney Larry Feldman, who is representing a 13-year-old boy who claims Jackson molested him.
Feldman said Francia’s testimony would be crucial to his client’s civil lawsuit against Jackson. He said the deposition could take all day.
″We’ve waited a long time for this,″ Feldman said Tuesday.
Members of the superstar’s family again came to his defense, condemning the former maid’s story Tuesday in an interview with Black Entertainment Television. His mother, Katherine, characterized Francia as a disgruntled, fired employee.
″Most of the time when people are fired, they always try to get back at Michael,″ she said.
KNBC-TV, meanwhile, reported Tuesday that a second boy has come forward with claims he was fondled by Jackson.
KNBC, citing unidentified sources, said investigators who questioned the boy found his account to be credible. Its report did not go into detail on the allegations raised by the second youth, identified as the son of a former Jackson employee.
Los Angeles County and Santa Barbara County prosecutors have been investigating claims of sexual abuse against Jackson, but no criminal charges have been filed.
During an interview aired Tuesday on the syndicated television magazine ″Hard Copy,″ Francia said she saw Jackson bathing in the nude with at least two young boys. She added that Jackson once asked her opinion of what she witnessed.
″I said it was none of my business,″ she said. ″He liked that.″
Occasionally, ″I would get some reward. Money, or a gift.″
″I would keep my mouth shut to keep my job,″ said Francia, an immigrant from El Salvador.
Francia told the Los Angeles Times and ″Hard Copy″ that she quit the job two years ago out of disgust.
She also said she encountered her son sitting on Jackson’s lap. When she questioned them about it, she received vague answers. She was to discuss her fears about her son’s involvement on ″Hard Copy″ tonight.
Jackson remained in seclusion, apparently at his Neverland ranch in Santa Barbara County. He returned on Friday to California from Europe, where he says he was treated for addiction to painkillers.
Francia, who said she worked for Jackson for five years, is the only person since the allegations against Jackson surfaced to state publicly that she saw the entertainer naked with boys.
Jackson’s attorney, Howard Weitzman, refused to discuss Francia’s remarks. Jackson is to give a deposition in the lawsuit on Jan. 18. Trial is set for March 21.
Francia told the television program that Jackson often maintained constant company with young boys approximately 11 years old, and some would stay at his Neverland ranch for weeks on end, sleeping overnight with him.
She said parents occasionally were received at the ranch, but were kept distant from the entertainer and his young guests. Francia said she guessed they ″looked the other way.″
Francia said Jackson called the boys ″rubba.″ She said he would rub them against his ″private parts.″ She also said she cleaned a ″hideaway″ where Jackson would go with young friends.
″I saw little things like rubbing a boy against his body. ... He had boys sitting in his lap and rubbing them,″ she said. It was not clear from the interview whether Jackson was clothed at the time.
″Hard Copy″ producer Cheri Brownlee, who read portions of the interview to The Associated Press, refused to say whether Francia was paid.