This story contains details of sexual assault.

A three-judge panel of the California Court of Appeal has breathed new life into the child molestation cases brought by “Leaving Neverland” subjects Wade Robson and James Safechuck against Michael Jackson’s corporation. The plaintiffs allege that MJJ Productions Inc. staff were complicit and aided Jackson in grooming, sexual abuse and cover-up.

A tentative ruling, issued Monday, says the men have a legal case that can be tried, with allegations that both were molested by Jackson after the pop megastar befriended them when they were children and then groomed and sexually abused each for several years, until they reached puberty.

The 35-page ruling, if made final, would potentially lead to trials in cases that have dragged on for years. Robson and Safechuck were each suing Michael Jackson’s corporation separately, but the ruling suggests their cases will be combined when they go to trial. Jackson’s company lawyers argued the company had no legal duty to protect Robson or anyone else from Jackson, because it had no ability to control him.

The tentative ruling stated that a corporation that facilitates the sexual abuse of children by one of its employees is not excused from a duty to protect them merely because the person abusing the children solely owns the company, writing that “it would be perverse” to find no duty based on the corporate defendant having only one shareholder.

“And so we reverse the judgments entered for the corporations,” the ruling reads.

This is the second time an appeals court has taken steps to restore the lawsuits.

Vince Finaldi, an attorney for Robson, said he would reserve comment until a final ruling was made.

Safechuck, 45, originally filed his complaint against MJJ Productions Inc. and MJJ Ventures Inc. in May 2014, and Robson, 40, filed his complaint in May 2013. Their lawsuits were thrown out based on the statute of limitations, but legislative changes while their appeals were pending made their lawsuits timely, and the cases were returned to the trial court.

Safechuck alleges that in the late 1980s, when he was 9 years old, he met Jackson while filming a Pepsi commercial. After they met, Jackson allegedly began writing and phoning the boy, showering him with gifts, money and invites to dinners, shows and vacations, even bringing him and his mother along for a six-month tour.

Michael Jackson with 10-year-old Jimmy Safechuck on the pop star’s tour plane on July 11, 1988.

(Dave Hogan / Getty Images)

According to the suit, the sexual abuse began in Paris in 1988, after Jackson and MJJ Productions made all the travel arrangements and paid all the expenses. In Jackson’s hotel room, he allegedly told the boy that he “was going to change his life by showing him how to masturbate,” before demonstrating on himself, and then coaching the child.

The pop star told him that sexual acts were a way of “showing love,” according to the suit, and from 1988 to 1992 Jackson allegedly sexually abused the child hundreds of times, in various ways that included digital penetration and Jackson “kissing his genitals,” among other acts. The suit also claims that Jackson performed a faux marriage ceremony with the boy.

According to the suit, Safechuck was repeatedly instructed to “deny everything” and sworn to secrecy. Safechuck claims that, when he was around 12, Jackson began to lose interest in him in favor of a younger boy and began to prepare him for separation.

The suit also alleges that, in 1987, Robson was 5 years old when Jackson’s production company first introduced the aspiring young dancer to the “Smooth Criminal” singer, after he’d won a dance contest. The prize was meeting Jackson, and he danced with him on stage the following night.

The abuse allegedly began in 1990, when Robson was 7 and had been invited to stay at the Neverland Ranch with his family for the weekend. According to the suit, MJJ Productions helped facilitate his move from Australia to the United States in 1991, offering him employment and a place performing alongside Jackson in music videos, commercials and photo shoots.

The suit further alleges that Jackson abused Robson by fondling his penis, engaging in oral sex and attempting anal rape, which Robson says occurred at the Neverland Ranch in Jackson’s bedroom, in the jacuzzi, the dance studio, the recording studio, and various hotels and condominiums. The abuse or “circumstances suggesting sexual abuse” was witnessed by employees of MJJ Productions Inc., according to the suit, which details specific instances in which a security guard witnessed Jackson putting his hand on Robson’s crotch, and alleges that other employees found both Jackson’s and Robson’s underwear on the floor beside the bed.

Further allegations state that the MJJ Productions Inc. security staff joked that the late entertainer didn’t have any girlfriends “because he likes little boys. He likes little white butts,” and that employees were routinely sent to buy gifts and toys for Jackson’s “little friends,” using company funds, including with a credit card issued by MJJ Productions.

The suit claims that MJJ Productions also implemented policies that allowed Jackson to be alone with children, and that security staff were instructed to keep their distance when Jackson had “play time” with children in various areas of the Neverland Ranch. The staff were also allegedly instructed to keep parents from children while the children were with Jackson, and took them on shopping or wine tasting trips to get them out of the house, and further alleged that parents were required to sleep in the guest quarters away from the main house.

No one reported the abuse to authorities, according to the suit, which alleges that MJJ Productions Inc. employees were “his co-conspirators, collaborators, facilitators and alter egos for the childhood sexual abuse alleged,” and that although they were hired to create and distribute Jackson’s multimedia entertainment, they “actually served dual purposes.”

“The thinly veiled, covert second purpose … was to operate as a child sexual abuse operation, specifically designed to locate, attract, lure and seduce child sexual abuse victims,” the suit reads.

MJJ Productions Inc. could not immediately be reached for comment.

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