The mother of Michael Jackson’s 12-year-old accuser spent time in a mental hospital in 1998, according to court documents filed by the woman's ex-husband. The court papers are from the mother’s ongoing bitter custody battle with her ex-husband, who filed an affidavit with Los Angeles Superior Court on January 28, 2004.
I’ve seen the papers. In them, the father — a union member who says he’s currently taking part in the supermarket worker strike in Los Angeles — claims that his wife spent time at the Kaiser Permanente Mental Health facility in downtown L.A. in 1998. He does not specify how much time she spent there.
H. Russell Halpern, the father’s lawyer in his custody case, told me yesterday that the statement is true and that insurance records will back it up. Asked how much time the mother spent at Kaiser, he replied: “I don’t know.”
A man who answered the phone at Kaiser last night told me that the average length of stay is seven days. “You can only come in here through a referral from a Kaiser emergency room.”
The father — who was accused by his ex-wife of domestic abuse during their divorce — paints a picture of his ex-wife as an unstable woman who has convinced her children to make up stories in other situations that might benefit them.
The father also claims in his affidavit that his ex-wife coached their kids to lie in her case against J.C. Penney — in which she ultimately won $163,000 in damages.
“She would write questions and answers for the kids,” he writes, “to study and practice with her.”
I am also told by sources involved directly with the parents’ case that depositions exist which could cast an even worse light on the mother. Apparently, the mother and her three children told lawyers in the J.C. Penney lawsuit that they were never abused by the father, contradicting their other statements.
All of this will be used by Jackson’s lawyers to the extent that it can to depict the mother as an opportunist who turned on Jackson when she thought her connection to Neverland and all its amenities was being cut off.
According to court papers, the mother went back into Family Court on March 11, 2003 to have her child support payments increased to $1,499 a month — almost double what she’d been receiving up until then.
The date of the mother’s demand for more money from her ex-husband is interesting in that she filed for emergency help on March 3, 2003. Santa Barbara District Attorney Tom Sneddon’s charges against Jackson are seven counts of child molestation between Feb. 6 and March 10. The sudden need for more money seems to coincide with the family’s ouster from Neverland after a year-and-a-half of living off Jackson’s largesse.
Michael Manning, the mother’s attorney in her divorce case, did not return calls.
Maybe readers of this column think I don’t like the Jackson family because of all the coverage about Michael. But I must take Janet Jackson’s side in this latest flap about her flap — and flapping around.
Banning Janet from this Sunday’s Grammy awards seems like nothing short of blacklisting to me, and censorship of the worst kind. While Janet and Justin Timberlake’s peep show was in poor taste, it was certainly nothing as shocking as what else had gone on that night. Both Kid Rock and P. Diddy sang about the joys of drugs. There was much grabbing of crotches and other demonstrations of vulgarity that Janet’s act did not come close to in terms of coarseness.
If the Grammys were really interested in preserving the culture, and if CBS wanted to show its contrition, I say ban all the rappers and dancers in G-strings, ban all the lip synching to suggestive and violence-inspiring lyrics, and ban all the so-called stars who have spent years in prison and are now celebrated as heroes of the culture.
We do spend a lot of time mourning “superstars,” but it would be wrong to ignore the passing of one of pop music’s great musicians. Cornelius Bumpus, 54, was an original member of the Doobie Brothers and a favorite of Steely Dan, a horn player extraordinaire. His death on Tuesday (a heart attack on a flight to a gig) is a real tragedy. He will be sorely missed.