Michael Jackson’s Alleged Victims Can Now Sue The Singer For Sexual Abuse

Since HBO’s four-hour documentary Leaving Neverland aired, Michael Jackson’s music and history have come under public scrutiny. The documentary told the story of Wade Robson and James Safechuck, two men who accused the pop legend of sexually abusing them as children. And thanks to a new law in California, the two alleged victims will now be able to sue his estate.

A new law came into effect on January 1 in California, which allows victims of childhood sexual abuse to file civil lawsuits until the age of 40 (previously only 26). Along with raising the age limit, the new law extends the statute of limitations that allows victims to sue third-party entities that either knew or should have known of the alleged abuse but failed to take action against it.

The new law overturns a 2017 ruling that stated Robson and Safechuck couldn’t sue Jackson’s estate both because the statute of limitations had expired and because the estate could not be held responsible for Jackson’s alleged actions.

Robson’s lawyer said the new law was a positive step in the right direction, according to Rolling Stone. “We’re pleased the appellate court has affirmed the strong protections that California has for sexual abuse victims and recognized the extended statute of limitations that it provides.”

Howard Weitzman, a lawyer for Jackson’s estate, had a different sentiment. “The Court of Appeal’s ruling merely revived lawsuits against Michael Jackson’s companies, which absurdly claim that Michael’s employees are somehow responsible for sexual abuse that never happened.”

Throughout the public backlash, Jackson’s estate has maintained the singer’s innocence. But in an interview with Rolling Stone, Robson explained that it took several years to understand the abuse he allegedly faced. “And there’s a whole truth and story behind each one of these tiny things that when you take the time to understand all the complexity and all of the conflicting feelings,” he said. “All the years that James and I defended Michael is all part of how it goes down, with the love that’s all intertwined with the abuse.”