Los Angeles, CA – Jermaine Jackson, known for his role in the iconic group the Jackson 5, is facing legal action in the form of a civil lawsuit filed by Rita Butler Barrett on Wednesday. Barrett alleges that Jackson sexually assaulted her in Los Angeles in 1988 and is seeking damages for the trauma she claims to have endured.
The Allegations Against Jermaine Jackson
In her lawsuit, Barrett accuses Jackson of sexual battery, battery, sexual assault, and negligence. She claims that the incident took place when Jackson, now 69 years old, allegedly forced his way into her home in or around the spring of 1988. Barrett alleges that Jackson proceeded to sexually assault her with force and violence, causing her to fear for her life. She states that she reported the assault to Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records, who she claims withheld and concealed the acts, perpetuating a cover-up.
Barrett also asserts that this alleged cover-up allowed Jermaine Jackson and others associated with him to continue profiting from his work and reputation for years to come. She points to the sale of Motown Records in June of that year as evidence of the ongoing financial benefits derived from Jackson’s career.
The Role of Berry Gordy
In her complaint, Barrett describes herself as a survivor of sexual abuse, sexual battery, sexual assault, harassment, and rape. She claims to have come to know Jermaine Jackson through her work as a musician’s contractor and alleges that they had mutual “close personal/familial connections,” including with Berry Gordy, who she claims was in a personal and business relationship with her husband at the time.
Barrett contends that the trauma from the alleged assault has caused her substantial and continuing emotional distress, physical pain, and permanent disability. She claims that she has suffered in silence and shame for decades, unable to disclose the trauma to others or seek proper therapeutic support.
In addition to seeking damages for her injuries, both economic and noneconomic, Barrett is demanding a trial by jury. She accuses Jermaine Jackson of engaging in a conspiracy to cover up or prevent disclosure of information relating to the alleged assault and claims that this conspiracy denied her the ability to mitigate her damages and obtain the support she needed.
Jermaine Jackson has not publicly commented on the allegations at this time, and it is unclear how he intends to respond to the lawsuit.