Note: This article contains descriptions of alleged sexual assault.
Jermaine Jackson, a founding member of the Jackson 5 and one of Michael Jackson’s brothers, has been accused of sexual assault and battery in a new lawsuit viewed by Pitchfork. Filed by plaintiff Rita Barrett in Los Angeles Superior Court on Wednesday, the lawsuit alleges that Jackson assaulted Barrett in 1988, and also names Jackson’s companies Jermaine L. Jackson Music Productions and Work Records as defendants.
Per the filing, Barrett knew Jackson for several years before the alleged assault, connecting with him professionally in her work as a musician’s contractor and through Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, who apparently had a working relationship with Barrett’s husband. The lawsuit alleges that, in the spring of 1988, Jackson arrived at Barrett’s residence unannounced, forced his way inside, and sexually assaulted her.
The lawsuit also alleges that the day after the assault, Barrett disclosed the incident to Gordy, who, the lawsuit states “was uniquely situated to both report Defendant Jackson’s acts and to aid Plaintiff during her time of trauma.”
“Instead,” the filing continues, “Mr. Gordy withheld and concealed the acts, further perpetuating the coverup and allowing Mr. Gordy, Defendant Jackson, and others in the business relationship to continue to reap profits derived from Mr. Jackson’s work and reputation for years to come.” The filing seeks damages for sexual battery, battery, sexual assault, and negligence.
Barrett’s lawsuit was filed as part of California’s Sexual Abuse and Cover Up Accountability Act, one of multiple recent acts that temporarily waive the statute of limitations on certain civil claims that handle sexual misconduct.
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual assault, we encourage you to reach out for support:
RAINN National Sexual Assault Hotline
1 800 656 HOPE (4673)
Crisis Text Line
SMS: Text “HELLO” or “HOLA” to 741-741