Michael Jackson auditorium unveiling 'disappointing,' abuse survivors' group says
Restoration of pop singer Michael Jackson's name over a Los Angeles school auditorium is a "slap in the face" to children who've been subjected to pedophilia, said a spokesman for Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
The Los Angeles Unified School District's decision to uncover Jackson's name after it had been boarded over for seven years didn't take into account the "cultural perception" that Jackson had issues with kids, said Joelle Casteix, a SNAP spokeswoman.
"It's grossly disappointing," Casteix said Monday. "Although he was never convicted there was a huge secret settlement with at least one alleged victim,'' she said, referring to a 1993 civil lawsuit alleging child abuse that ended with a closed-door payout.
"With all the brave and courageous people LAUSD could honor, it's a shame they chose to honor him again," she added.
District officials on Friday uncovered Jackson's name at Gardner Street Elementary School, saying the deceased entertainer had been acquitted of separate criminal charges alleging child abuse in 2005. Fans had petitioned the district to uncover Jackson's name.
"No one is upset,'' said PTA President Marielena Armagnac. "All of the kids love his music."
Jackson briefly attended Gardner in 1969 as an 11-year-old on the brink of superstardom. He attended the auditorium's dedication in his name in 1989.
-- Catherine Saillant