Wade Robson, the choreographer who recently came forward with claims that he suffered seven years of molestation by Michael Jackson, has finally broken his silence.
The 30-year-old dancer and choreographer spoke to The Today Show's Matt Lauer this morning, telling him unequivocably that Jackson, who died in 2009, was a "pedophile and sexual abuser." He adds that the late pop icon "performed sexual acts on me and forced me to perform sexual acts on him" when Robson was between the ages of 7 and 14.
So why did Robson, a dance prodigy who has performed with the likes of Jackson, N'Sync and Britney Spears over the years, testify in 1993 (when he was 11) that Jackson did not molest him? "He convinced me that our careers would be over and both of us would go to jail for the rest of our lives," says Robson.
Robson insists that he didn't receive any money from Jackson at the time to hold his silence, but is seeking damages now in a pair of lawsuits. The first is a creditor's claim against Jackson's estate, which Robson is hoping a judge will uphold despite the passed deadline, and the second a civil claim filed this week in which Robson says he can prove Jackson molested him without the cooperation of the estate.
The 30-year-old claims it was important for him to step forward now, after more than fifteen years of silence, because of how he would feel if a stranger molested his own son, now two years old. "This is not a case of repressed memory," said Robson. "I have never forgotten one moment of what Michael did to me, but I was psychologically and emotionally completely unable and unwilling to understand that it was sexual abuse."
Paparazzi accosted Robson at JFK airport in New York on Wednesday and were told by Robson that he'll be dropping a bombshell in regards to the case sometime this week.
Jackson's estate responded to Robson's sit-down with Lauer with a statement: "Mr. Robson's claim is outrageous and pathetic. This is a young man who has testified at least twice under oath over the past 20 years and said in numerous interviews that Michael Jackson never did anything inappropriate to him or with him. Now, nearly four years after Michael has passed, this sad and less-than-credible claim has been made."
The King of Pop famously faced several similar suits during his lifetime, all of which were either settled out of court or dismissed. Robson has had trouble making progress in his creditor's claim against the Jackson estate because the presiding judge was skeptical about how long it took him to file his complaint. Robson claims the abuse stopped 16 years ago, when he was 14.
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(Photos from left: AP Photo/Michael A. Mariant, File, Mark Mainz/Getty Images)