Who Is James Safechuck? New Details About The Man Who Accused Michael Jackson Of Sexual Abuse In 'Leaving Neverland'

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Who Is James Safechuck? New Details About The Man Who Accused Michael Jackson Of Sexual Abuse In 'Leaving Neverland'

He said Jackson started sexually abusing him when he was 8.

The latest Michael Jackson documentary has arrived and with it comes some bombshell allegations. 

"Leaving Neverland" directed by Dan Reed debuted at Sundance at Park City, Utah's Egyptian Theatre on Friday. The four-hour film follows two men who claim that the legendary pop singer sexually abused them when they were children. Festival director John Cooper even told the audience that due to the "explicit descriptions of sexual abuse" in the documentary, health care providers were standing by to offer counsel.

Throughout his life, Jackson always denied the rumors of child abuse and said he would never hurt a child. Now, Wade Robson and James Safechuck are telling their sides of the story, describing the sexual acts Jackson committed against them and the acts he coached them to commit on him.

During an interview with Reed prior to the film's opening, Oprah asked him how many people knew. 

“I think a great many people knew,” he said.

So who is James Safechuck? Here's everything we know about the Michael Jackson accuser. 

RELATED: Was Michael Jackson Framed For Child Abuse To Cover Up Another Crime?

1. The abuse started when he was 10. 

Safechuck said he first met Jackson when he was cast in a Pepsi commercial that he was starring in. Safechuck was around 8 years old at the time.

He said the alleged sexual abuse started when he was 10. In the film, Safechuck claims that Jackson kissed him, performed oral sex on him, forced him to perform oral sex and taught him how to masturbate. 

2. They had a "mock wedding" ceremony. 

According to Safechuck, Jackson would often buy him jewelry. He would take him to different stores and have him try on different pieces under the guise that it was a gift for a woman and Safechuck's small wrists and hands were good for sizing. 

One time, the singer bought a gold ring lined with diamonds for the child and gave it to him as a gift during a "mock wedding" ceremony. During which, they wrote and exchanged vows to one another.

3. At the height of their "friendship," Jackson had hideaways all over his property.

Safechuck claims that Jackson's infamous Neverland Ranch was filled with hideaways and private nooks that always had beds. He said Jackson molested him at many different locations around the property, one that including a locked, private box in the on-site movie theater that had one-way glass so no one seated below could see inside.

Another site of alleged abuse was a hidden attic with a bed in Neverland's train station. Safechuck said he was molested by Jackson in a section of the yard filled with teepees, the pool, the Jacuzzi and more. 

RELATED: Who Is Michael Jacobshagen? New Details About The Man Accusing Michael Jackson Of Inappropriately Touching Him When He Was 14

4. They had drills for what to do if they were caught. 

In the beginning years of his alleged abuse, Jackson created a series of fail-safes for Safechuck to follow so he would avoid being caught. There were bells that lined the doors that led to the singer's walk-in closet — where a blanket would be spread out on the floor and the doors would be shut. 

When Safechuck was on tour with Jackson, they would supposedly have "drills" of getting their clothes on as fast as possible. At the time, Safechuck said he didn't realize how harmful his "friendship" with Jackson was.

"There's no alarm bells going off in your head or any thoughts like that," he said. "Really, it's just, 'I love this person, and we're trying to make each other happy.' He said I was his first, but even as kid you don't know what that means. You're lovers and you're best friends... You just feel really connected to someone, and you just love them intensely."

5. He defended Jackson when he was accused of sexual misconduct.

Safechuck once defended Jackson in 1993 when he was accused of sexual misconduct with a minor, which was settled outside of court. However, when Jackson went on trial for sexually abusing a 13-year-old boy, Safechuck declined to testify. He was acquitted of all charges.

When asked by Oprah if he ever thought about the abused boys he testified against, even though many people looked the other way, he said. 

“Well, them looking the other way and us looking the other way, I think are two different things,” Safechuck said. “We were trained and groomed for it,” he said. “So we’re approaching it differently. Not comparable.”

6. He denies money as a motive for coming forward.

Before the film premiered, four members of Jackson's family defended him and said that the accusers were doing this for money. The Jackson estate lawyer sent a 10-page letter to HBO back in February, calling the film "an admittedly one-sided, sensationalist program.”

“It’s always been about money,” said Taj Jackson, Jackson’s nephew. “I hate to say it. When it’s my uncle, it’s almost like they see a blank check.”  

Safechuck and the other accuser, Wade Robson, deny that money had anything to do with it. And Reed, the film's director, backs up their claims.

“Going to court is a well-established way of holding an entity to account,” he said. “What Wade and James are alleging is that a whole lot of people working for Michael Jackson looked the other way while they were being raped and why should those people not be held to account?”

7. Until now, he's preferred to stay out of the spotlight. 

Safechuck, who is now married with children, didn't want to come back into the public eye but felt he needed to. 

"I do think there are others out there, but I also don't expect them to just come out now that we're coming out," he said. "It's such a difficult thing to do to come out. You have to do it when you're ready."

He was also hesitant to participate in the documentary.

"I was concerned about somebody just sensationalizing the story," he told the Associated Press. "Is this person out to just put together a piece for people to watch because it's Michael? Or is it somebody who is going to tell the story of survivors and abuse and what that's like?"

"I don't think it was as therapeutic for me. It was tough."

RELATED: New Details About Paris Jackson's Strange Behavior And Why Her Family Is Concerned After The Scary Video She Posted On Instagram

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Emily Blackwood is a writer and editor living in California. She covers all things news, pop culture, and true crime.

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