Michael Jackson's former rabbi believes James Safechuck and Wade Robson are telling the truth
Shmuley Boteach said the claims made by James Safechuck and Wade Robson in Dan Reed's documentary 'Leaving Neverland' were "devastating", "painful", and "traumatizing."
An American rabbi and former friend of Michael Jackson believes that the late pop legend's accusers are telling the truth about the alleged sexual abuse they faced at his hands, and has called for a reassessment of MJ's legacy.
Rabbi Shmuley Boteach did an interview with 'A Current Affair' host Tracy Grimshaw and revealed that he had been friends with MJ from 1999 to 2001, Daily Mail reported.
Boteach told the host that the claims made by James Safechuck and Wade Robson in Dan Reed's documentary 'Leaving Neverland' were "devastating", "painful", and "traumatizing."
"I don't believe these men are lying, and I don't believe that the shame and guilt being experienced by their parents in general, maybe their mothers, in particular, is feigned," Boteach shared. "There will have to now be a fundamental reassessment of the legacy of Michael Jackson, in light of this documentary."
Speaking about a clip in 'Leaving Neverland' in which Jackson justifies sharing a bed with young children, Boteach said, "You cannot share a bed with someone else's child. That is immoral, that is unacceptable. It's deplorable. I could not believe that he had done that, and that he had said it, and that he didn't understand that there was something wrong."
"Michael said he wanted to leverage his celebrity to help the world's children. So what I said to him was, 'You were never meant to be the child's Messiah. Stop thinking that you're the one that's supposed to give all the world's neglected children attention,'" he continued.
Boteach shared that he had become friends with Michael a few years after the 'Thriller' singer had settled a child molestation case with Jordy Chandler's family in 1993.
Boteach shared that he did not know what to believe and was unable to explain why the Chandler family decided to take a $23 million settlement instead of pursuing the matter further in court.
"I didn't know if to believe it or not. We didn't know. What I did know was, that regardless of whether it was true or not, Michael could never again really be around children," he said.
The pop icon then faced sexual abuse allegations again in 2004 after being accused of molesting 13-year-old Gavin Arvizo, a cancer patient who had visited Jackson's Neverland ranch when he was younger.
Boteach revealed that it was difficult to buy Gavin's claims as Gavin had been with his family at the time.
Eventually, Michael was acquitted of all charges but the allegations recently resurfaced after the claims made by Safechuck and Robson in 'Leaving Neverland'.
He also shared how he had served as a spiritual advisor to the pop star even though Jackson was a Jehovah's witness and said, "The moment I began to feel like my advice could not be heeded, because I wasn't a fan, I was a friend. I wasn't a hanger-on, I was a rabbi...I felt I had to leave and that's when I severed our relationship."