LOS ANGELES – Tapes of the father of a boy who accused Michael Jackson (search) of molestation in 1993 were played on the TV news magazine "Dateline," a decade after the singer reached a settlement with the boy that included an agreement not to discuss the case.
The boy's uncle played the recordings for NBC television's "Dateline" (search), saying he made them around the time of the allegations. Authorities were investigating the allegations when the singer reached a settlement with his accuser, paying him a sum reported at $15 million to $20 million.
The alleged victim declined to cooperate with prosecutors, and no criminal charges were brought against Jackson at the time. The boy's uncle told "Dateline" that the family initially tried to help prosecutors bring charges, but stopped cooperating when authorities refused to place them in the witness protection program.
The father said on one recording that he initially thought Jackson was harmless, and even felt bad for him.
"He's childlike. He's a child. Nothing to fear. You put that together with the way he looks ... and you feel sorry for him. OK. And you know that he — this tells you that he grew up an intensely lonely person."
The father eventually grew more suspicious of the singer.
The uncle said he is no longer close to his brother because of a disagreement unrelated to Jackson. He has written a self-published book about the allegations.
The uncle said he made the recordings with his brother's knowledge, but that his brother was not involved in writing the book.
Jackson did not admit misconduct at the time of the settlement but said that he was settling the case because of its potential to harm his career. He has said repeatedly that he would never harm a child.
Earlier this month, "Dateline" reported that Jackson also paid $2 million to the son of an employee at his Neverland Ranch in 1990 to avoid a child-molestation accusation.
Jackson's spokeswoman, Raymone K. Bain, declined to comment Sunday.
In the current molestation case against Jackson, which involves another boy, the 46-year-old pop star has pleaded not guilty to committing a lewd act upon a child, administering an intoxicating agent, alcohol, and conspiracy to commit child abduction, false imprisonment and extortion.