LOS ANGELES – A teenager who befriended Michael Jackson's (search) cancer-stricken accuser says the boy told him Jackson helped him fight the illness through meditation.
Ahmad Elatab, a 17-year-old high school student from Passaic County, N.J., says he spoke with the boy when Jackson took them on an outing to a Toys 'R' Us store in March. He said the boy believed his cancer was gone because of Jackson.
"He said it's healed up because Michael taught him how to get rid of cancer because Michael meditates and stuff like that," said Elatab, who said he visited Jackson's Neverland Ranch (search) several times between January and April of last year.
An adult Jackson fan who has visited Neverland, Diana D'Alo, confirmed that both Elatab and the boy went on the outing to a Toys 'R' Us near Neverland in March. But she did not go along on the trip and was unable to confirm they had talked.
Jamie Masada, a comedy club owner who brought Jackson and his accuser together about two years ago, said Thursday that the boy's condition has recently taken a turn for the worse. Doctors removed one of his kidneys and his spleen at the same time they removed a tumor from his stomach, and the boy's remaining kidney is now failing, Masada said.
Elatab said Jackson's accuser also told him during the March outing that Jackson was a father figure to him and that he never saw Jackson do anything inappropriate.
"He told me how he hates his parents a lot. ... He said Michael was like a father to him," Elatab said.
"He called Michael sometimes 'Dad' and stuff. I saw how they acted around each other. He gives all the kids fatherly love, nothing sexual. ... Michael never touches him inappropriately and he never touches Michael inappropriately. They just hold hands, all the kids hold hands with Michael. It's fatherly."
Elatab, who has talked to several news organizations since the allegations arose, said Jackson's representatives have encouraged him to speak out for Jackson. He said he last saw the singer in August, and first met him in 1995 through one of his father's friends.
The parents of Jackson's accuser have unlisted numbers and could not be located for comment, and the secretary for the mother's divorce attorney, Michael E. Manning, said the boy's mother has asked Manning not to speak to the media.
Jackson's attorney, Mark Geragos (search), said last week that the accusations are motivated by money and are untrue.
Jackson surrendered to Santa Barbara County authorities Nov. 20 on an arrest warrant alleging he committed lewd or lascivious acts with a child under 14. He was released on $3 million bail; authorities say they expect to file charges sometime after Dec. 15.