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Attorney wants Michael Jackson to lose child custody

March 18, 2004

Michael Jackson fan Kevin Sargent holds a banner of the pop star 13 February, 2004, outside Santa Barbara Superior Court
Photo: AFP/Robyn Beck
LOS ANGELES — Attorney Gloria Allred said that Los Angeles County officials have turned down her request that Michael Jackson's three children be removed from his custody, but said she would bring the matter to a juvenile court judge.

Allred said Wednesday that Jackson should lose custody of the children because of his past behavior and the child molestation charges against him. She does not represent the children, but said she was acting because she believes they are in danger of physical or sexual abuse.

Allred asked Santa Barbara authorities last year to investigate the children's welfare, citing the molestation charges, Jackson's admission that he sometimes shares his bedroom with children, and a November 2002 incident in which he dangled his baby from a balcony.

In January, after Jackson moved from Santa Barbara County to Beverly Hills, she asked the Los Angeles County Department of Child and Family Services to investigate.

Allred said the department notified her Friday that they would not remove the children from Jackson's custody and make them dependents of the court. Department officials said they couldn't comment because of confidentiality laws.

Allred said she filed an application Wednesday asking that the presiding judge of Los Angeles County Juvenile Court begin proceedings to take the children from Jackson and place their care under the court's jurisdiction.

One of Jackson's criminal attorneys, Benjamin Brafman, said Allred had no good reason to get involved.

"I think it would be best if people who have nothing to do with these proceedings stayed out of them rather than looking at Mr. Jackson's case as a vehicle through which to engage in self-promotion," he said.

Allred said she would continue despite what she called Brafman's "personal attacks."

Jackson and his second wife, Deborah Rowe, agreed last month to hire a retired judge to handle an unspecified "family law matter" that was believed to concern custody and visitation arrangements for the couple's two children – a boy, 7, and a girl, who is 5 or 6, who reportedly live with Jackson.

Jackson has a third child, Prince Michael II, who is believed to be about 10 months old, but he has not disclosed the identity of the boy's mother.

Jackson has pleaded innocent to seven counts of performing lewd or lascivious acts on a child under 14 and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent, reportedly wine. He remains free on $3 million bail. – Sapa-AP

Related links stories
Judge wants Michael Jackson tried by the end of the year [19/02/2004]




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