|The investigation of Jackson, which by October 1993 would grow to involve at least twelve detectives from Santa Barbara and Los Angeles counties, was instigated in part by the perceptions of one psychiatrist, Mathis Abrams, who had no particular expertise in child sexual abuse. Abrams, the DCS caseworker's report noted, "feels the child is telling the truth." In an era of widespread and often false claims of child molestation, police and prosecutors have come to give great weight to the testimony of psychiatrists, therapists and social workers.|
Police seized Jackson's telephone books during the raid on his residences in August and questioned close to thirty children and their families. Some, such as Brett Barnes and Wade Robson, said they had shared Jackson's bed, but like all the others, they gave the same response -- Jackson had done nothing wrong. "The evidence was very good for us," says an attorney who worked on Jackson's defense. "The other side had nothing but a big mouth."
Despite the scant evidence supporting their belief that Jackson was guilty, the police stepped up their efforts. Two officers flew to the Philippines to try to nail down the Quindoys' "hand in the pants" story, but apparently decided it lacked credibility. The police also employed aggressive investigative techniques -- including allegedly telling lies -- to push the children into making accusations against Jackson. According to several parents who complained to Bert Fields, officers told them unequivocally that their children had been molested, even though the children denied to their parents that anything bad had happened. The police, Fields complained in a letter to Los Angeles Police Chief Willie Williams, "have also frightened youngsters with outrageous lies, such as 'We have nude photos of you.' There are, of course, no such photos." One officer, Federico Sicard, told attorney Michael Freeman that he had lied to the children he'd interviewed and told them that he himself had been molested as a child, says Freeman. Sicard did not respond to requests for an interview for this article.
All along, June Chandler Schwartz rejected the charges Chandler was making against Jackson -- until a meeting with police in late August 1993. Officers Sicard and Rosibel Ferrufino made a statement that began to change her mind. "[The officers] admitted they only had one boy," says Freeman, who attended the meeting, "but they said, 'We're convinced Michael Jackson molested this boy because he fits the classic profile of a pedophile perfectly.' "
"There's no such thing as a classic profile. They made a completely foolish and illogical error," says Dr. Ralph Underwager, a Minneapolis psychiatrist who has treated pedophiles and victims of incest since 1953. Jackson, he believes, "got nailed" because of "misconceptions like these that have been allowed to parade as fact in an era of hysteria." In truth, as a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services study shows, many child-abuse allegations -- 48 percent of those filed in 1990 -- proved to be unfounded.
"It was just a matter of time before someone like Jackson became a target," says Phillip Resnick. "He's rich, bizarre, hangs around with kids and there is a fragility to him. The atmosphere is such that an accusation must mean it happened."