Authorities may exhume Michael Jackson's body to gather DNA evidence as more people come forward with sexual assault allegations against the singer.
Jackson has been facing accusations of child molestation and sexual assault for decades, years before his death in 2009. This month, an explosive new documentary, Leaving Neverland, brought those stories back into the spotlight, and more people are coming forward with their own stories. According to a report by Radar Online, investigators may exhume Jackson's remains to gather evidence.
"There are at least 11 new victims who claim they were molested and even raped by Jackson when they were between the ages of 7 and 14 – and the list is growing," a source close to the investigation told Radar Online. "Many victims and those campaigning to uncover the truth believe the key to proving the extent of Jackson's abuse lies in digging up his remains and scraping it for DNA."
However, according to another report by Express, exhuming remains — especially those that are a full decade old — is very rare in criminal investigations, and is only done in extreme circumstances.
Leaving Neverland: Michael Jackson and Me premiered HBO on Sunday, March 3. The film focused on two of Jackson's child companions, Wade Robson and James Safechuck. Both danced in performances with Jackson as children, and both claimed that he was sexually abusive on many occasions.
The documentary has inspired many others to come forward with similar stories. Jackson was first accused of child sexual abuse in 1993. The investigation was inconclusive, and no charges were filed, though Jackson did settle out of court with the family for $25 million.
He was taken to court in 2005, charged with seven counts of child molestation and two counts of administering an intoxicating agent to a minor. At the time, Jackson was acquitted on all counts.
Jackson's family has been outraged at the rehashing of these stories this year. His estate filed a lawsuit against HBO for airing Leaving Neverland, though the network has stood by its decision. Some of his brothers and his nephew also went on CBS This Morning for an interview about the allegations. All said that they would not watch Leaving Neverland, but they denied its contents nonetheless.4comments
"I don't care to see it," said Jackie Jackson. "No, because I know my brother. I don't have to see that documentary. I know Michael. I'm the oldest brother. I know my brother. I know what he stood for. What he was all about. Bringing the world together. Making kids happy. That's the kind of person he was."