In his first interview since being arrested for child molestation, the pop superstar has told America’s CBS network that he is not a paedophile.
Asked if, in his current circumstances, it was still acceptable to sleep with children, Jackson replied: “Sure, why not? If you’re going to be a paedophile, if you’re going to be Jack the Ripper, if you’re going to be a murderer, it’s not a good idea. That, I am not.”
Jackson, 45, who lives near Santa Maria in his famed Neverland Ranch, was charged last week with seven counts of molesting a boy under the age of 14 and two counts of plying him with alcohol beforehand.
In the interview, excerpts of which were released by CBS on Friday, Jackson vehemently denied all the charges.
“Before I would hurt a child, I would slit my wrists,” he said.
Speaking of the police search of Neverland, Jackson said his privacy had been so badly violated that he no longer considered the ranch his home.
“If you’re going to be a paedophile, if you’re going to be Jack the Ripper, if you’re going to be a murderer, it’s not a good idea (to share a bed with children). That, I am not”Michael Jackson
“I won’t live there ever again,” he said. It’s a house now. It’s not a home anymore. I’ll only visit.”
Jackson also discussed his time in police custody, specifically an injury he said was inflicted on him when he was handcuffed by police during his arrest on 20 November.
Currently free on $3 million bail, Jackson is due to appear in court in Santa Maria on 16 January for an arraignment at which he could enter a plea.
Each of the child molestation charges carries a jail sentence of between three and eight years on conviction.
And the charges of administering an intoxicating agent to a minor carry a maximum sentence of three years each.
His lawyer and other members of his entourage have rounded on the family of the young accuser, saying the allegations are part of an extortion attempt and that they are motivated by “greed and revenge”.