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Despite child molestation accusations, L.A. Unified restores school auditorium sign in honor of Michael Jackson. A good idea?


Michael Jackson was a musical icon. He also was a man dogged by accusations of inappropriate relationships with children.

6a00d8341c630a53ef013488024286970c-320wiIn 2003, after Jackson's arrest on suspicion of child molestation, L.A. school officials covered over a sign with his name on it at the Michael Jackson Auditorium at Gardner Street School in Hollywood. Jackson was ultimately acquitted, and after his death last year, fans urged the L.A. school system to uncover the sign.

Los Angeles Unified School District Supt. Ramon C. Cortines ordered the boards stripped away Friday "in recognition of Michael Jackson's musical legacy and contribution to modern culture."

A school district spokesman told The Times' Kate Linthicum the decision was made in large part because Jackson had been acquitted of criminal charges in the molestation case. (In 1993, a 13-year-old boy filed a civil suit accusing Jackson of sexual molestation. The pop singer, while declaring his innocence, eventually settled the lawsuit for an undisclosed sum that sources say was at least $15 million.)

On Friday night, a Facebook page calling for the restoration of the sign was overflowing with joyous comments.

"I could cry!!" one person wrote. "I wish he were here to see this!!"

Jackson was briefly enrolled at Gardner Street Elementary. In 1969, he and his family moved to Los Angeles from Gary, Ind., so that Jackson and his brothers could make a record with Motown.

What do you think about L.A. Unified's decision to restore the sign? Share your thoughts below.

Photo: Michael Jackson. Credit: Los Angeles Times

Comments () | Archives (82)

Innocent until proven guilty? When a payment is made to the key witness, who then refuses to cooperate with the investigation, that hardly makes Jackson innocent. I do not get the hero worship thing of him- or any other entertainer. They are not heroes. They are performers. Heroes are people who do heroic things- like our soldiers, our police officers, and our firefighters. Part of the problem with our society is misplaced hero worship. How about naming it after some of the soldiers from LA who gave their lives so we could continue to have freedom? They are the real heroes.

FACT: The 2003 settlement was made public before it was paid, and the parents who extorted Mr. Jackson could have brought criminal charges notwithstanding the settlement. So why didn't they? Because they were after Jackson's money, that's why! If Jackson and others who are merely accused are unequivocally guilty in the eyes of many, God help us all. We may as well throw out our criminal justice system. I urge anyone who believes the tabloid lies to stop the witch hunt of Mr. Jackson. Read the 2005 court transcripts, listen to the audio tape of Evan Chandler planning his extortion. Become educated before you post. Please!

* Evan Chandler’s death and how the allegations began and ended with him

Most media outlets are touting Chandler as ‘the father of the boy who accused Jackson of child molestation’. Wrong. Chandler was the father who accused Jackson of molesting his son after the star refused to negotiate script-writing deals for him.

The initial allegations against Jackson were made not by Jordie Chandler but by his father Evan, in spite of Jordie’s insistence that Jackson never touched him inappropriately, a stance that the boy maintained for several months.

* Did he do it? In depth GQ article

By 1980, when their son was born, the couple’s marriage was in trouble. “One of the reasons June left Evan was because of his temper,” a family friend says. They divorced in 1985. The court awarded sole custody of the boy to his mother and ordered Chandler to pay $500 a month in child support, but a review of documents reveals that in 1993, when the Jackson scandal broke, Chandler owed his ex-wife $68,000—a debt she ultimately forgave.

* The legal statement detailing that it was his insurance who paid the Chandler’s without Michael Jackson’s control

* Image highlighting that specific section

The document also shows that the Chandlers dropped the child molestation allegations from their complaint (first through six causes were regarding molestation):

“Forthwith upon the signing of this Confidential Settlement by the Parties hereto, the Minor through his Guardian ad Litem shall dismiss, without prejudice, the first through sixth causes of action of the complaint on file in the Action, leaving only the seventh cause of action pending.”

“The Parties recognize that the Settlement Payment set forth in this paragraph 3 are in settlement of claims by Jordan Chandler, Evan Chandler and June Chandler for alleged compensatory damages for alleged personal injuries arising out of claims of negligence and not for claims of intentional or wrongful acts of sexual molestation.”

* TMez had witnesses lined up to testify that Jordie Chandler had told them that Michael had never molested him

“Now, the one you’re talking about never showed up. He’s the one who got a settlement in the early 90s. Now my understanding is that prosecutors tried to get him to show up and he wouldn’t. If he had, I had witnesses who were gonna come in and say he told them it never happened and that he would never talk to his parents again for what they made him say. It turned out he had gone to court and had legal emancipation from his parents. His mother testified and said she hadn’t talked to him in 11 years. So, you know, there was a problem there as well.”

The idea is great and we, as fans, are happy every time that Michal's honor is being restored , as this man has given so much joy to the world through his music and dance as well as being a great humanitarian. Plus, I'm astonished by the ignorance of this SNAP group and by the time they are wasting in persecuting an innocent man. Additional fact: As far as I know, Michael has never been a priest!

Excuse my mistakes but I'm french..so I would like to say that we are shocked, disappointed one more time by the media !! Was it necessary to speak again about child molestations Michael Jackson was accused of, while a scholl wants to do something for him, that means that they know what they do, children love Michael, in spite of all the insanities that the media said about him. Catherine SAILLANT, was it necessary to reveal Mrs Joelle CASTEIX words, don't you think Mr Jackson 's image has not been destroyed enough ?? It's a shame to see how the media has thought, thinks and always will think it is authorized to say anything on anybody without punishment, whatever the consequences the media has destroyed Michael and you go on and on...please change your target! I will see if my words are published, I doubt !!

It is regrettable that otherwise essential activism and necessary vigilance on behalf of child safety can morph so easily into witch hunting and scapegoating -- pedophiles under every rock and behind every door. Like the Red Scare of the 1950s, and just as destructive, the accusation ALONE means final and irreversible condemnation for all time.

Michael Jackson's celebrity, his genuine and, yes, innocent affection for children made him an ongoing target for parasites, profiteers, persecutors masquerading as prosecutors, tabloid media zealots masquerading as journalists, and well-meaning activists and individuals (albeit misguided and misinformed in this case) who sought only to protect children from what they decided was a predator. The rampant actions of this diverse group -- with many agendas -- nonetheless brewed the poison that proved slow death to Michael Jackson.

I applaud the action taken by the LA School District to right an injustice originally perpetrated in the court of public opinion by greed, hysteria and misinformation, but later corrected in a court of law with judge, jury, defense, prosecution, and witnesses all present and active. The auditorium sign, covered in haste and fear, once again reveals the name of Michael Jackson, an American Citizen falsely accused and found Not Guilty in a court of law in the United States of America.

It is essential that Justice Triumphant in the Courtroom be hailed as Justice Triumphant in the World for all to see. We cannot have our children confused by learning one thing in the classroom and seeing the opposite practiced in life.

The best activists, advocates and officers for child safety are smart enough and wise enough to pursue the bad guys in fact, and leave the good guys alone. Otherwise, we exist in a state of perpetual unfounded fear and suspicion -- first of "the outsiders" and then friends and neighbors, and finally those with whom we share a home.

It was a great idea. Some people should educate themselves on the facts instead of asking naive questions. It was un constitutional to cover it in the first place. Jackson had every legal right to settle, although the insurance company did it. For the law a person who settles is not considered guilty that's why courts encourage people to settle in civil cases. But for people with low education it's not the same thing. Ignoring the numerous facts about the cases is not a very smart thing. For some reason I never understood people "forgot" it was Evan Chandler was asked for a settlement while Jackson was asking for a trial. Nothing stopped the Chandlers for testifying in a potential criminal case (but evidence didn't support one anyway). Apart from the fact that they would go to jail of course!

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