I've been asked a number of time how I can be sympathetic to Michael Jackson when he was a possible child molester.
As an expert in sexual abuse, I have long suspected that Jackson was sexually abused (along with the well-documented physical and emotional abuse he suffered). I've worked with both victims and predators, and every predator I worked with was repeating behavior that had once been done to them.
I can admire Michael Jackson's talents and gifts, and be sympathetic about his lost and difficult childhood, yet not condone behavior in him that may have been abusive to others. When I learned about the sexual abuse my father had experienced as a child, I was thankful to have an explanation for his abuse of me, although it did not in any way excuse his actions.
After watching every step of Jackson's trial, I personally thought there was evidence of guilt. However, the malicious prosecution by DA Sneddon made a fair trial impossible. So despite the evidence, I was relieved when Jackson was found not guilty. Post-trial, some jurors acknowledged that they felt Jackson had actually been guilty, but they reached their verdict based on the judge's appropriately narrow guidelines for conviction.
It's not easy to hold two contradictory feelings inside-sympathetic understanding of a situation along with a vision of wrongdoing. Michael Jackson's life was itself a study in contradiction. May he indeed rest in peace.