Safechuck alleges sexual abuse at the iconic Neverland train station that did not even exist at the time

In a scene of Leaving Neverland accuser James Safechuck alleges that Michael Jackson had molested him in virtually every corner of Neverland, including in open and rather public spaces such as the pool or the theater. The whole scene seemed like a rundown on every notable area at Neverland in an attempt to sully and pollute them with “sexual abuse” imagery in the viewer’s mind.

Mind you, in his complaint Safechuck portrays Jackson as a paranoid abuser who would go great lengths not to get detected. He claims, among other things that Jackson supposedly run “drills” with him like this [1]:

Or that Jackson would mess up the bedroom where James should have slept so that staff would not notice that instead he had slept in Jackson’s bed [1].

According to Safechuck’s allegations, Jackson went as far as to prepare him and practice what police would tell him in the future (even though there was no trace of any police investigation in Jackson at the time yet) [1].

Jackson was generally very careful, according to Safechuck’s complaint [1]:

Taking a cue out of a prosecution theory during the 2005 trial, both Safechuck and Wade Robson put a great emphasis on the alarm bell that was installed in Jackson’s room. The prosecution and the media attempted to portray it as something sinister, but objectively we are simply talking about a bell that rings when someone enters the downstairs section of Jackson’s room. It is perfectly understandable when we know that often there were dozens or even hundreds of people staying and walking around at Neverland – guests, fans and staff alike. Obviously molesting children is not the only option why an international celebrity would want to get a warning when someone enters his private quarters. When we talk about Jackson’s bedroom, it is a two-storey complex, as big as other people’s whole apartment is. Basically it was Jackson’s private suite with a family room downstairs and a bedroom upstairs.

Nevertheless, in 2005 the prosecution made a big deal of the alarm bell (ironically, it eventually helped to exonerate Jackson – you can read here how), and now we see it emphasized in both Safechuck‘s and Robson‘s complaints as well. From Safechuck’s [1]:

The suggestion is clear in the complaint and becomes even more clear in the film that they basically allege that Jackson had installed the alarm bell to be able to detect it if anyone approached while he was supposedly molesting kids.

With that in mind it is certainly weird then that in the film Safechuck tells about Jackson allegedly molesting him basically all over Neverland: in the pool (which, by the way, was surrounded by cameras), in the jacuzzi, in the theater, in the teepees in the Indian village, upstairs in the arcade, in the memorabilia house, in the castle in the theme park and in an upstairs room at the train station. When he finishes listing all the locations where he was allegedly molested, Safechuck notes in the film: “it happened every day”.

What was the point of the alarm bell in Jackson’s room and all the other paranoid precautions (like supposed “drills”) if he then took James out to open and very much public spaces to molest him “every day”, where they could have been caught any time?

But leaving this little plot hole behind us for now, let’s move on to the main topic of this article: Safechuck’s allegation that he was molested at the train station. He says in the film: “At the train station, there’s a room upstairs. And we would have sex up there too.”

Here is the clip of him saying it: https://streamable.com/pfdze

Now, as you can see from this short clip above (in courtesy of Geraldine Blondeau) there is a big problem with that claim: the train station did not exist until late 1993-early 1994!

This is more than a little, insignificant memory lapse by Safechuck. These are actually the kind of blunders and red flags that are usually signs of false allegations constructed in the hindsight. It is not just that James got a date wrong – that can happen. But here he alleged sexual abuse specifically in the upstairs room of a pretty iconic building of Neverland that did not even exist at the time of his alleged abuse! Additionally, please consider that he claimed that the molestation at these locations happened regularly, “every day”.

This is the building we are talking about – one of the most recognizable, most iconic buildings of Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch.

There is evidence to prove that it did not exist during the time period when Safechuck alleges his sexual abuse happened.

In a photo taken in August 1993, you can see that there is nothing yet at its later location.

In a December 1993 article (during the Chandler allegations) it was reported that the train station was being built then.

And the final evidence. The permission to begin the construction of the Neverland train station was approved by authorities on September 2, 1993. The construction then finished in 1994. (In courtesy of documents obtained by MJJ Repository)

train station - land use permit

By the time the construction of the building finished Safechuck was 16 years old. There is no allegation that Jackson molested him at 16. In actuality, his whole narrative in the complaint and the film alike is that when he reached puberty Jackson lost interest and moved on to the next “victim” (ie. Brett Barnes who denies being a victim).

Safechuck’s allegation is that his alleged abuse happened between 1988 and 1992. Here it is in his own words from his declaration.

Here is it again from a Probate Court filing by Safechuck [5]:

1988-1992 2

It is repeated several times throughout Safechuck’s court documents that he alleges his sexual abuse took place between 1988-1992, when he was 10-14 years old.

Considering that Jackson went on a world tour in June 1992 (where he did not take Safechuck with him), that is about the last date any sexual abuse claim would fit into Safechuck’s timeline.

In any case, the train station is virtually impossible to fit into his timeline. It was not built until 1994. It was finished after the Chandler allegations. Safechuck turned 16 in February 1994. There is no claim that Jackson molested him at 16 or at any time after the Chandler allegations. In actuality, in the film Safechuck claims that by the time of the 1993 Chandler allegations Jackson had become “a little bit absent” from his life and he only contacted him again for the Chandler allegations because he needed him to testify for him.

It is not just a little, insignificant mistake about dates. It is that Safechuck alleges to have been molested specifically in a room and in a building (a pretty iconic building) that did not even exist during the relevant time and by the time it was finished he was 16! Please also take note of the fact that Safechuck alleges that the molestation at these locations was a regular occurrence: “it happened every day”.

Defenders of Safechuck tried to explain this away by saying things like perhaps he was abused at another train station at Neverland, but the other train stations are not buildings, just platforms. Here are those:

The Flamingo Island train station at Neverland

The Zoo train station at Neverland

The other train stations at Neverland

This is just one another problem with Safechuck’s allegations, but by far not the only one. His allegations have never come under the same scrutiny in court as Robson’s because his case never even got as far in the court system (it was thrown out at the demurrer stage, while Robson’s went further in the summary judgement stage). So Safechuck and his family never got deposed and no discovery has ever been done on them. Still, even just reading his complaint and watching Leaving Neverland, we can already discover a number of big problems with his allegations.

UPDATE: The train station issue made big waves in the media in the first week of April 2019 (at least in the UK), and in answer to that the director of the film, Dan Reed took it to Twitter to defend James Safechuck’s and his film’s credibility. He argued that it does not matter if the train station was built in 1994, because Safechuck’s abuse continued after the construction of the train station as well.

He tweeted on April 2:

Reed - Safechuck provided train station photo 2

[3]

Then he repeated this argument on April 4:

reed April 4 2019

[4]

The problem is: it is not what Safechuck alleged in his lawsuit and neither in Reed’s film and subsequent interviews, for that matter. As you can see above, in his court documents his allegation is that his abuse stopped in 1992. He also said in a BBC interview at the end of February 2019 that his alleged abuse happened when he was 10-14 years old (1988-1992) [6].

In the film itself this “sex all over Neverland” scene was put into the context of the early days of his alleged “sexual-romantic” relationship with Jackson: “It sounds sick, but it’s kinda like when you are first dating somebody, you do a lot of it”, says Safechuck after he is finished describing these alleged “sex scenes”. The film has black screen interludes to clearly separate each time frame. The sexual abuse at the train station discussion is found between the November 1987-January 1990 interludes. (Graphic in courtesy of MJJRepository)

train station interludes

This new claim that Safechuck’s alleged abuse continued after the train station was built (he was 16 then) goes against this whole narrative that is presented in the film about Jackson losing sexual interest in boys when they reached puberty and moving on to his next, younger victim. In actuality, in an interview with Queerty on March 4, Dan Reed himself claimed: “He liked prepubescent boys, and he did have sex with Wade and James up to about the age of 14. Beyond that, I haven’t heard of a victim older than 14.” [11]

This is how Safechuck looked when he claims he abuse happened:

Safechuck kid

Michael Jackson and James Safechuck

And this is how he looked like at the age of 16 – towering over Jackson.

safechuck 2

Michael Jackson, his wife Lisa Marie Presley and James Safechuck in Budapest in 1994

And let’s keep it in mind that in this case the Chandler allegations in 1993 are a big milestone. Safechuck has never claimed (at least so far) that he was molested after the Chandler allegations. In actuality, at the time Jackson did not spend much time at Neverland. He spent most of 1994 in New York recording. Safechuck might have gone back to Neverland and taken photos of the train station after it was finished, but chances are that Jackson was not even there. (It happened very often that guests and friends stayed at Neverland while Jackson was not even there.) In any case, Safechuck’s allegation was that his alleged abuse stopped in 1992.

One more remark regarding the above tweets by Reed: he claims that the photos of the train station that we can see in his film were taken and provided to him by Safechuck. That clearly shows that Safechuck knew exactly what building he was talking about while he alleged sexual abuse at the train station, he did not mistake it for any other building.

The two photos shown of the train station in Leaving Neverland while Safechuck describes his alleged sexual abuse there:

 

The same week we also got additional information about how that upstairs room in the train station actually looked like (after the train station was built in 1994, of course). It was not an actual room, but more like a mezzanine floor. Here is a video in which you can see that it did not have a door, anyone could walk up there, and it did not even have an inside wall, just a barrier.

Click here to watch the video (in courtesy of Aden Branson) https://streamable.com/l00fp

This aligns with Myra Hissami‘s account, who is the girlfriend of Jackson’s long time drummer, Jonathan Moffett [7].

Train station upstairs room 3

Train station upstairs room 1

Train station upstairs room 2

Jackson would have been pretty much asking to get caught if he had sexually abused anyone there. It especially contradicts the cautious, paranoid portrayal of him in Safechuck’s complaint. 

Of course, this only matters if someone would wish to insist on Reed’s explanation that Jackson molested Safechuck after the train station was built. The main issue remains that the train station did not even exist during the period when Safechuck alleges that Jackson abused him.

UPDATE 2: In the second week of April 2019 British tabloids, The Daily Mirror and The Sun (and also in true copy & paste “journalism” fashion, NME) made a desperate and poor attempt at trying to refute the train station evidence. They claimed that they received “bombshell evidence” that proves that Safechuck was telling the truth about being molested at the train station.

This “bombshell evidence” consisted of quotes from two books that supposedly “prove” that the train station existed in 1990.

One book is entitled “Remember the Time – Protecting Michael Jackson in His Final Days”. It was published in 2014 by two of Jackson’s bodyguards, Bill Whitfield and Javon Beard. The passage that the tabloids used as their “evidence”, in context actually does not seem to straight up claim that the train station was there in 1990, but let’s see it [8]:

train station 1

train station 2

In the paragraphs before the train station was mentioned it does talk about Neverland’s opening in 1990, but in the paragraph, where the train station is mentioned, it just seems to give a general description of Neverland.

In any case, this book was written by two bodyguards who were not in Jackson’s life and not at Neverland in the early 1990s. The same can be said about their ghostwriter, Tanner Colby who most probably wrote this passage.

In the Introduction of the same book we can read that Whitfield and Beard worked for Jackson in his last years, from December 2006 until his death in June 2009 [8].

bodyguards

By 2006 Jackson moved out of Neverland. Whitfield and Beard never worked at Neverland, let alone in the relevant time period, in the early 1990s and they have no first hand knowledge of what was there during those early years.  Their ghost writer probably just used secondary sources to describe Neverland and those descriptions probably came from later years.

A day later Whitfield indeed confirmed on Twitter that he does not have knowledge about how Neverland looked like in the early 1990s and he did not appreciate the media misinterpreting their book [10].

bill whitfield 1

bill whitfield 2

bill whitfield 3

Something similar can be detected with the second “bombshell evidence” the tabloids used. It is from a book entitled “Untouchable – The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson” by Randall Sullivan. It was published in 2012. The relevant passage goes as follows [9]:

sullivan - train station

Sullivan has never been to Neverland, let alone in the relevant time period in the early 1990s. He uses secondary sources as well, and often his own fantasy. His book is sloppy and is full of incorrect, inaccurate information – this one is just one of the many.

In fact, when we check out the source list at the end of his book for Chapter 6 (where the train station reference is), we find that for the description of Neverland he used a video by the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s department.  That video was made in 2003 during the raid of Neverland.

Sullivan

It is obvious that evidence like the actual construction permit for the train station (approved in September 1993), a newspaper article from 1993 (which shows the train station being under construction in December 1993), photo archives (that show there was nothing at the spot of the train station before September 1993) are relevant evidence that would be accepted in Court, unlike extracts from two books written by people who have never been to Neverland during the relevant time period and who simply made (mistaken) assumptions about what Neverland might have looked like.

Moreover, Allan Scanlan, who worked at Neverland as the Director of Maintenance between 1990-2005, also confirmed that the train station was built in 1993.

al scanlan 1

al scanlan 2

Another attempted argument made for Safechuck by the tabloids is that he might have mistaken the train station for some other building like the train shed (which, by the way, does not have a second floor). We already addressed this argument above: Dan Reed says that Safechuck provided the photos of the train station used in his film, which means Safechuck knew exactly what building he was talking about and it was not mistaken for any other building.

UPDATE3: On April 22, 2019 Dan Reed made another attempt at saving Safechuck’s credibility by posting a clip from the a podcast interview with Michael Jackson’s photographer, Harrison Funk. Funk told The MJCast in a January 2019 interview that once Jackson asked him not to photograph the train station because initially he put it up there without a permit [12]. Reed saw his chance in this anecdotal “evidence” [13]:

Reed train station April 22

 

Except, Funk did not say the train station was complete before the 1993 construction permit was approved. In fact, he later clarified in a tweet that this photo shoot and the conversation between him and Jackson happened in June 1994 [14].

Harrison Funk - train station
Whatever permits Jackson had a problem with in June 1994 (could have been an occupancy permit), it is a provable fact that the spot of the train station was still empty in August 1993, and news articles from the time prove that it was still being under construction in December 1993. Besides the photos and news article clippings already shown above, here is some more evidence of this.

This aerial photo taken on August 25, 1993 shows that other than the floral clock, there was nothing at the later spot of the train station at the time yet.

August 25, 1993 train station.jpg

Here it is again with the photo’s data from Getty Images that shows that the photo was created on August 25, 1993 by Steven D Starr [16]:

getty train station august 1993

Journalist Mike Smallcombe contacted the photographer, who confirmed to him that the date Getty Images provided for his photo is correct. He took these photos shortly after the Chandler allegations became public at the end of August, 1993.

Smallcombe 1 train station Steve Starr 1

Smallcombe 1 train station Steve Starr 2

Here is a news clip in which it is mentioned that during the 1993 Chandler allegations (which went public in August 1993) construction workers were building the private railroad at Neverland: https://streamable.com/a9pl3

And here is another photo of the train station still being under construction on December 13, 1993.

neverland-train-station-in-1993-not-yet-completed

UPDATE4: In case you read an argument around the Internet about “police footage proving that the train station was built before 1993”, we can assure you that claim is false. As far as I managed to track it, the argument originates from a Facebook group and then spread to Twitter, Reddit and other social media forums by Michael Jackson detractors who, bordering on the delusional, still try to argue that the train station existed when James Safechuck claimed his abuse happened. That in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary (see above).

What these people are referring to as their “evidence” for this claim is a segment of a documentary called “Michael Jackson – The Boy He Paid Off” which segment you can view here: https://streamable.com/kgxya

In this clip they talk about the search of Neverland during the 1993 Jordan Chandler allegations against Jackson and at the end of it you can see footage of a police raid at Neverland with police cars and the train station. From that Jackson detractors hastily jumped to the conclusion that the footage used in this film was made during the August 1993 raid of Neverland and that “proves” that the train station existed by then.

Their conclusion is wrong.

The film they use as a reference was made in 2004 and that particular footage that they use there is from the November 2003 raid of Neverland which was conducted in relation to the Gavin Arvizo case. So while the film and the narration is about the 1993 case, that particular footage used as illustration is from the 2003 raid, not from 1993.

boy he paid off imdb[17]

If you do a little research and look at things carefully in that footage in the 2004 film and photos taken during the 2003 raid, you will realize that yourself. Let’s compare the footage from the film and photos from the 2003 raid.

Footage used in “The Boy He Paid Off”:

floral clock 2003 raid 2

Photo from the 2003 raid [18]:

raid 2003

And another 2003 raid picture from another photo agency [19]:

2003 raid

What you will notice is that the floral clock in front of the train station looks EXACTLY the same in these photos from the 2003 raid as in the footage from the 2004 film. For one, other than the numbers and the word “Neverland” above the clock, there are no flowers in or around the floral clock. Additionally you can see a number of little statues surrounding it.

Thing is, this floral clock never looked the same. It constantly changed over time. Here are some other photos of it from different years and eras to show the different looks of it.

It would literally take a miracle for it to look the EXACT same way during the August 1993 raid and the November 2003 raid. It did not. We can actually show you how it looked in August 1993, at the time of the 1993 raid, since you can see it on Steven D Starr’s photo posted in “Update3”. Let’s close in on it!

August 25, 1993

In this August 1993 photo you can see yellow flowers on both sides at the bottom, next to the stairs. In the footage from the 2004 film AND in 2003 raid photos that area has no flowers at all. In the 1993 photo there are no statues surrounding the clock either like there are in the footage used in the 2004 film AND in 2003 raid photos. Most importantly, there is no train station anywhere to see in the 1993 picture, since it did not exist yet.

And here is another thing to notice in these pics I posted above. Let’s put the footage from the 2004 film next to this photo from the 2003 raid, again. Both have the same police car parked in the exact same location!

floral clock 2003 raid 2

2003 raid

Conclusion: the footage they used in the 2004 film was taken during the 2003 raid of Neverland, not in 1993. Just like all the overwhelming evidence proves, the train station simply did not exist during the period James Safechuck claims he was abused by Michael Jackson.

Sources:

[1] James Safechuck’s Second Amended Complaint (filed on September 19, 2016)
https://themichaeljacksonallegationsblog.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/safechuck_v_mjj-second_amended_complaint-conformed.pdf
[2] Supplemental Declaration of Claimant/Creditor James Safechuck in Support of Amended Petition for Order to Allow Filing of Late Claim Against Estate (filed on March 18, 2015)
https://themichaeljacksonallegationsblog.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/safechuck-declaration-march-18-2015.pdf
[3] Dan Reed’s Twitter account (April 2, 2019)
https://twitter.com/danreed1000/status/1113205222355210240
https://twitter.com/danreed1000/status/1113209463148810241
[4] Dan Reed’s Twitter account (April 4, 2019)
https://twitter.com/danreed1000/status/1113725996354682880
https://twitter.com/danreed1000/status/1113726262604980224
[5] Claimant/Creditor James Safechuck’s Opposition to Demurrer of the Executors of the Estate of Michael Jackson to Claimant’s Petition for Order to Allow Filing of Late Claim Against Estate (filed on December 3, 2014)
https://themichaeljacksonallegationsblog.files.wordpress.com/2019/02/safechuck-jackson-court-docs-dec-5-2014.pdf
[6] Michael Jackson ‘abused us hundreds of times’ (BBC.com, February 28, 2019)
https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-47403951
[7] Myra Hissami’s Twitter (April 4-5, 2019)
https://twitter.com/mhissami/status/1114182836594982912
https://twitter.com/mhissami/status/1114184150364246016
https://twitter.com/mhissami/status/1113920834265989120
[8] Bill Whitfield, Javon Beard, Tanner Colby – Remember the Time – Protecting Michael Jackson in His Final Days” (2014)
[9] Randall Sullivan – Untouchable: The Strange Life and Tragic Death of Michael Jackson (2012)
[10] Bill Whitfield’s Twitter (April 10, 2019)
https://twitter.com/MJBODYGUARDS/status/1115854500160516096
https://twitter.com/MJBODYGUARDS/status/1115876629329395712
https://twitter.com/MJBODYGUARDS/status/1115847568360128513
[11] ‘Leaving Neverland’ director Dan Reed documents Michael Jackson’s history of sex abuse (March 4, 2019)
https://www.queerty.com/leaving-neverland-director-dan-reed-documents-michael-jacksons-history-sex-abuse-20190304
[12] Harrison Funk’s Interview with the MJ Cast (January 2019) – around the 2 hours 18 minutes mark
http://www.themjcast.com/episode-094-harrison-funk-special/
[13] Dan Reed’s Twitter (April 22, 2019)
https://twitter.com/danreed1000/status/1120338564947107841
[14] Harrison Funk’s Twitter (April 22, 2019)
https://twitter.com/harrisonfunk/status/1120358183384559616
[15] Mike Smallcombe’s Twitter (April 22, 2019)
https://twitter.com/mikesmallcombe1/status/1120380330437959686
https://twitter.com/mikesmallcombe1/status/1120380807628165120
https://twitter.com/mikesmallcombe1/status/1120385929166970880
[16] https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/michael-jacksons-neverland-ranch-news-photo/523989446?adppopup=true
[17] IMDb page for “Michael Jackson and the Boy He Paid Off (2004)”
https://www.imdb.com/title/tt0418888/
[18] Photo by Frazer Harrison from the November 18, 2003 raid
https://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/an-aerial-photo-shows-a-santa-barbara-county-sheriffs-news-photo/2740857
[19] Photo by Michael Eliason/Zuma Press, Inc from the November 18, 2003 raid
https://www.alamy.com/stock-photo-nov-18-2003-los-olivos-ca-usa-aerial-of-neverland-valley-ranch-while-42276544.html
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