Tue, Dec 30, 2003 - Page 1 News List

Michael Jackson claims the police treated him badly

AFP , NEW YORK

Michael Jackson says he was mistreated during his recent arrest on child molestation charges, and that the police search of his Neverland ranch so violated his privacy that he will never live there again.

In his first interview since his arrest -- broadcast on Sunday on the CBS network -- Jackson also vehemently denied all the charges, while still insisting that he saw nothing wrong in sharing his bed with a child.

Describing his surrender to the authorities last month, Jackson said he was "manhandled very roughly" by police whom he accused of deliberately handcuffing him in a vicious way, hurting his wrists, arms and back.

"My shoulder is dislocated, literally. It's hurting me very badly. I'm in pain all the time," he said.

"Now I can't move. It keeps me from sleeping at night," he said.

He also accused police of locking him in a feces-smeared rest room and taunting him.

"There was doo-doo, feces thrown all over the walls, the floor, the ceiling. And it stunk so bad," he said.

"Then one of the policemen came by the window. And he made a sarcastic remark. He said, `Smell -- does it smell good enough for you in there? How do you like the smell?' And I just simply said, `It's alright. It's okay.' So I just sat there and waited," Jackson said.

During the interview, which was taped on Christmas Day in a Los Angeles hotel room, Jackson appeared wary and strained, and on several occasions questioning was interrupted by his lawyer whose voice could be heard off-screen.

"What time is it?" Jackson said at one point, breaking off from the interview to talk to an assistant.

"I'm hurting. I don't feel good," he said.

Jackson, 45, is charged with seven counts of molesting a boy under the age of 14 and two counts of plying him with alcohol beforehand.

Each of the child molestation charges carries a jail sentence of between three and eight years on conviction, while those of administering an intoxicating agent to a minor carry a maximum sentence of three years each.

Currently free on US$3 million bail, Jackson is due to appear in court on Jan. 16 for an arraignment at which he could enter a plea.

During the police search of his ranch for evidence, Jackson said his bedroom had been "totally trashed," and that the police had cut open his mattress with knives.

"I won't live there ever again," he said.

"It's a house now. It's not a home anymore. I'll only visit," he said.

Denying all the charges of molestation, Jackson said he would rather slit his own wrists than harm a child.

"I would never hurt a child. It's totally false. I was outraged," Jackson said.

"When I see children, I see the face of God," he said.

But asked if, in his current circumstances, he thought it was acceptable to share his bed with children, Jackson replied: "Of course. Why not?

"If you're going to be a pedophile, if you're going to be Jack the Ripper, if you're going to be a murderer, it's not a good idea. That, I am not," he said.

"What's wrong with sharing your bed? I didn't say I slept in the bed. Even if I did sleep in the bed, it's OK. I am not doing anything sexual to a child," he said.

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