Life After A Tabloid Scandal

by Diane Dimond on December 9, 2013

Mr. and Mrs. Gavin Arvizo

I went to a wedding this past week-end and while you may not immediately recognize the name of the groom I’ll bet you know of him.

Despite a lifetime of obstacles, Gavin Arvizo — once at the center of a sensational child sex abuse scandal — has worked his way through to a triumphant life. At 13, Gavin accused Michael Jackson of molesting him and the superstar was arrested.

It seemed life was stacked against this kid from the very beginning.

As a youngster he lived in a one room apartment in East Los Angeles with two siblings and his parents. Poverty and domestic abuse was a way of life.

Gavin at 13 With Mother Janet

At the age of eight this young Hispanic boy and his little brother were instructed by their father to walk out of a J.C. Penny store with clothing that wasn’t paid for. Out in the parking lot the boys watched in horror as their father was surrounded by security guards and wrestled to the pavement. His mother, emerging from another store, soon joined in the melee and both parents were handcuffed and taken to the police station.

At just ten years old Gavin was diagnosed with a rare and deadly cancer. As he laid helpless in an L.A. hospital bed feigning sleep he heard his parents being advised to plan his funeral. Following months of grueling treatments this plucky kid pulled through.

While in the hospital the boy’s plight came to the attention of the King of Pop. Jackson sent a basket full of toys and good wishes.

When he was well enough to travel the boy and his family were invited to visit the singer’s Neverland Ranch. Knowing of their poverty Jackson even sent a limousine to drive them. What a wonderful respite for a recuperating cancer patient and his exhausted parents!

But once back home things got worse. Violence. Restraining orders. Divorce. Yet the limousines kept arriving and the sleepovers in Michael Jackson’s master bedroom at Neverland continued.

On Trial, With Parents & Attorney Mesereau

The rest is history. Authorities in Santa Barbara, California charged Jackson with child sexual abuse, giving intoxicating substances to a minor to facilitate child sexual abuse, conspiracy to cover up the crimes and more.

During the trial Gavin, then 15, was vilified as a accomplished liar. Jackson’s lawyer, Tom Mesereau, called him and his family “grifters” and “thieves” and he repeatedly warned the jury that the Arvizos were only “in it for the money.”

The jury also heard about two other boys who said they, too, had been molested by Jackson. One was a maid’s son, the other the son of an L.A. dentist. Both boys received generous payouts from Jackson in return for keeping quiet. The dentist’s family got nearly $20 million.

The Dentist’s Son, Jordie Chandler

The defense called a group of young men to the witness stand, leading off with dancer/choreographer Wade Robson. Each testified they had often slept in Jackson’s bed when they were youngsters and nothing sexual had ever happened. Jackson was acquitted of all charges in June 2005.

In a stunning turnaround, Robson recently admitted he perjured himself at trial. He has filed suit against the Jackson estate claiming he suffered two nervous breakdowns because of the sexual abuse secret he harbored for so long. During a Today Show interview Robeson said of Michael Jackson, “He sexually abused me from seven years old until 14. He performed sexual acts on me, and forced me to perform sexual acts on him.”

Robson Appeared in Jackson Videos

Robson bluntly added, “Jackson was an amazing talent, but he was a pedophile.”

As the number of young men claiming they were victimized by Jackson continues to mount defense attorney Mesereau continues to publicly vilify Gavin as a “thief” and a dishonest character.  Nine years later he still ridicules the only youngster with enough courage to have actually gone to court to testify against an international superstar.  To this day Mesereau claims Arvizo’s allegations were money-driven.  The fact is, the defense lawyers and their teams are the only ones who made money from the Jackson criminal case.

Gavin, now 24, has also endured years of being hounded by paparazzi and tormented by a worldwide legion of die-hard Jackson fanatics who have vowed to kill him, maim him and stalk him for the rest of his life for saying their idol molested him.

Mr. and Mrs. Arvizo Wed Nov. 30, 2013

One of the more vicious fans recently discovered Gavin was about to wed a preacher’s daughter and urged others to inundate the church with menacing phone calls about Gavin’s integrity.

Gavin steadfastly refuses to speak up for himself, believing a man’s actions speak for themselves. So let me tell you a little bit about him.

Gavin worked two and three jobs at a time (in restaurants and landscaping) to put himself though community college. Through sheer perseverance he won partial scholarships to attend prestigious Emory University. He double-majored in history and philosophy, made the honor roll, participated in Moot Court and he still found time to volunteer frequently at his church.

Gavin doesn’t drink, use tobacco, drugs or foul language. He is currently working as a para-legal in a law firm, preparing to take the L-SAT test and is applying to more than a dozen law schools. His dream is to go to Harvard.

At Their Wedding Reception

Most telling about the character of Gavin Arvizo? He has never accepted any of the outstanding six-figure offers to sell his story. Newspapers and television shows continually dangle tempting deals but Gavin is adamant that the passage of time will best tell his story. He says he knows the truth and believes it will be revealed to the doubters of the world when the time is right.

As I sat in church and watched this resilient young man joyfully take a wife I thought back to all his trials and tribulations. Poverty, violence, near fatal cancer, his punishing and unsatisfying ride through the justice system. Amazing.

At the reception the unknowing DJ played, “The Way You Make Me Feel,” by Michael Jackson. I caught Gavin’s eye as he sat on the dais with his new bride. He just smiled, grandly shrugged his shoulders and went back to living his life as anonymously as possible.

home

His Dream Now is Harvard Law School

 

Please read more about the wedding here at my TheDailyBeast.com page.

And this article in the Christian Post

 

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

Diane Dimond December 9, 2013 at 12:22 am

ABQ Journal Reader John Seaver writes:

“I loved your story. Gavin is hope for so many.

Thanks for writing, nice work.”

Reply

Diane Dimond December 9, 2013 at 12:23 am

Creators Syndicate Wed Site Reader SusiesCloset415 writes:

“You did an absolutely beautiful and touching job on that story..it brought some tears to my eyes because I know what it is like to come back from a courtroom where the world thought you are in it for the cash instead of the reality of knowing you are trying to right a huge wrong. .it is a very lonely place standing essentially alone but the internal rewards are so much greater….that is probably why I live doing what I truly want to do..you were very sensitive to his feelings and that is worth much more then any cash settlement.”

Reply

Diane Dimond December 9, 2013 at 12:23 am

ABQ Journal Reader Kyla Thompson writes:

“Beautiful column. Bravo. “

Reply

Diane Dimond December 9, 2013 at 10:46 am

TheDailyBeast.com Reader 1samijim writes:

“if, as it’s been said “that which does not kill you makes you stronger”. this guy must be ‘iron man’ by now. i’m in awe.”

Reply

CLS December 9, 2013 at 3:17 pm

This is a very touching story. I wondered what happened to him, especially given the media’s ongoing interest in him and the frightening hatred of Mr. Jackson’s rabid fans, which continues to this day. When I read the criminal file, there was no doubt in my mind Mr. Arvizo was molested. I am relieved and grateful Mr. Arvizo has been able to move forward and forge a contented life for himself.

Thank you for writing this.

Reply

Diane Dimond December 9, 2013 at 11:46 pm

TheDailyBeast.com reader wiseone2 writes:

“Gavin is a survivor. I hope all his aspirations and dreams come true. Michael had been known to be very generous to the parents of children who engaged in the sleep-overs. At some point a parent has to know something is out of the ordinary. They should share part of the blame if any molestation took place. “

Reply

Diane Dimond December 9, 2013 at 11:47 pm

TheDailyBeast.com reader Cnico_1 writes:

” I always believed this kid… Thanks for a story that confirms my beliefs. God bless you Gavin, and good luck to your grad school dreams. You can do it!”

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Diane Dimond December 9, 2013 at 11:48 pm

TheDailyBeast.com Reader Condor_1 writes:

“I know that church! Good people and good for Gavin and his bride. May they have nothing but sunny days ahead. The DJ should have been told not to play MJ songs and if he was, he needs to give back the $. Michael J was a pee wee who could have ruined this boy’s life but Gavin and his family were too strong to let that happen. God bless!”

Reply

Diane Dimond December 9, 2013 at 11:49 pm

TheDailyBeast.com Reader oceanic writes:

“Good for Gavin. Living well is the best revenge. Any person who just reads this line and does not have their stomach churn is in serious star-struck denial… replace “Jackson” with any other grown man’s name here, and how does that sit… “Yet the limousines kept arriving and the sleepovers in Jackson’s master bedroom at Neverland continued.” A grown man having sleepovers with boys. Any other man on the planet would have been found guilty, no question. Any person who can say it was okay to have books of naked kids around, as MJ did – very clearly identfied in the trial – is not okay and burying your head in star-struck sand. He was not a God, not someone to admire. He was a twisted soul. “

Reply

Diane Dimond December 10, 2013 at 12:00 am

TheDailyBeast.com Reader synmax writes:

“Good for you, Gavin!!

God and life will reward you for your integrity, faith and moral behavior.”

Reply

Diane Dimond December 10, 2013 at 12:05 am

Facebook Friend Darryl DuPont writes:

“Last paragraph about the song got me.”

Reply

Diane Dimond December 10, 2013 at 12:06 am

Facebook Friend Rebecca Gay writes:

“Great story. Loved the follow up.”

Reply

Diane Dimond December 10, 2013 at 12:07 am

Facebook Friend Stacy Brown writes:

“This is fabulous!!!! It’s a shame that, as you point out, people like Tom Messereau have continued to disparage him. It’s great to see that Mr. Arvizo has overcome all of those obstacles to find happiness and someone to share it with.”

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Diane Dimond December 10, 2013 at 12:07 am

Facebook Friend Paul Strikwerda writes:

“What an amazing young man. Thanks for sharing his inspirational story!”

Reply

Diane Dimond December 10, 2013 at 12:08 am

Facebook Friend Linda Kelly writes:

“God bless him and his new wife. Stay the course young man. Diane you are always such a terrific writer. Thank you.”

Reply

Diane Dimond December 10, 2013 at 12:12 am

Twitter Pal duckmango writes:

“DiDimond great piece! it sounds like GA leads a very fulfilling life…something those losers obsessed with him will never have.”

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Diane Dimond December 10, 2013 at 12:13 am

Twitter Pal JustWantTruth writes:

“@DiDimond Happy for him. Not surprised about fans wanting to invade the church.”

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Diane Dimond December 10, 2013 at 12:14 am

Twitter Pal FairyCake8 writes:

” @DiDimond Good for him. It’s nice to see that MJ didn’t taint everything he touched.”

Reply

Diane Dimond December 10, 2013 at 12:18 am

Twitter Pal caliaurora writes:

“@DiDimond Thanks for sharing this story Diane? Whether a person believes either way it’s nice to know this young man is doing well.”

Reply

Terva March 20, 2014 at 3:38 am

I wonder if the Wade robson case will go to tial

Reply

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