Jermaine Jackson, one of Michael Jackson’s older brothers and a founding member of the Jackson 5, was accused of sexual assault in a civil suit filed Wednesday in California.
In the suit, filed in Los Angeles Superior Court, Rita Barrett accuses Mr. Jackson, 69, of sexual abuse, sexual battery, sexual assault, harassment and rape relating to an incident that she says happened at her Los Angeles home in 1988. In the court papers, Ms. Barrett says that Mr. Jackson forcefully entered her home and assaulted her, inflicting “severe emotional, physical and psychological injury, including humiliation, shame, and guilt, economic loss, economic capacity and permanent emotional distress.”
The suit lists Mr. Jackson, Jermaine L. Jackson Music Productions and Work Records, a business Mr. Jackson founded, as defendants. Mr. Jackson could not be reached for comment.
Ms. Barrett’s court filing says she came into contact with Mr. Jackson through her role as a musician’s contractor and as a member of a union that represents musicians. The complaint says she also knew Mr. Jackson through Berry Gordy, the founder of Motown Records, who had a personal and business relationship with Mr. Barrett’s husband. Mr. Gordy could not be reached for comment.
In her suit, Ms. Barrett says that she told Mr. Gordy what happened the following day, but he “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.”
Ms. Barrett is requesting a jury trial.
Michael Pellegrino, president of Artists Management Agency, which has represented Mr. Jackson since 2014, said the agency would be parting ways with the musician because of the suit.
“We have a zero-tolerance policy concerning these matters,” Mr. Pellegrino wrote in an email to The Times on Friday. “We wish him well but we must feel comfortable about who we represent and unfortunately at this moment we must take in consideration our other clients who do not feel comfortable with the current allegations.”
Jeff Anderson, a lawyer for Ms. Barrett, said that his client decided to file the suit after learning that California’s Sexual Abuse and Cover-Up Accountability Act allows certain sexual abuse claims to be revived that would otherwise be barred by the statute of limitations.
“The first thing that she and we want by having brought this case is for it to be known that Jermaine Jackson committed a very serious crime,” Mr. Anderson added.