(Disclosure: This piece appears in slightly different form as a private social media post.)
Aisha Harris’s article on The New York Times site (link below) is one of the more perceptive things I’ve read regarding the debate on Michael Jackson’s conduct with children.
It should also be noted that some needy adults have ways of taking advantage of kids that have nothing to do with sexual assault. Some of those acts are technically legal, albeit morally wrong. When Mr. Jackson was still living, it looked as if he might have been demanding emotional comfort from kids the way someone might seek comfort by cuddling a teddy bear. That doesn’t necessarily have a sexual element to it, so I wasn’t sure what to think when he was charged with molestation. However, it did sound as if Michael Jackson shouldn’t have been allowed near children, regardless of his motives. If nothing else, his mental state posed a burden to kids who shouldn’t have been expected to take responsibility for him.
Whether an adult is a sexual predator, seeking a human teddy bear or behaving the way Rose Hovick and Joe Jackson behaved with their kids (ambitious stage parenting), there should always be intervention. No exploitation of a child is excusable, and any of it can do harm which endangers the public later.
Note: Rose Hovick is cited as an example of a nightmare stage parent. However, there’s no indication that her children, June Havoc and Gypsy Rose Lee, posed a threat to anyone as a result of their mistreatment.