On a warm early summer day in May Joseph Thomas Bartucci Jr., Cledus Jones and Norman Blackburn were on their way from Alexandria to New Orleans. New Orleans was hosting it's first World's Fair and it'd be open from May 12 - November 11, 1984. The boys were fresh out of high school and Bartucci was only 18 years old.
After hopping off the bus at the station, the boys headed to find a hotel. They checked in and headed out to explore the fair. They spent the first whole day at the fair together. They went around to all the sites and enjoyed that evening together. Unknown to Bartucci, Jones and Blackburn had decided to play a prank on him the next day. The two boys went back to the bus station and left New Orleans to go back home. They did not tell Bartucci of their "prank". It was a little after noon and Bartucci hadn't heard from his friends in a while. Unsure of where his friends were he went out onto the fair grounds to search for them.
After he had searched for the boys for about two and half hours Bartucci ran into a guy leaned up on a white limousine. He was in the business district part of New Orleans and the guy asked him if he'd like to meet somebody famous. The guard didn't say who it was, but said maybe you could get an autograph.
The guard walked him to the side of the limousine and opened the door for him to get in. Sitting inside was Michael Jackson. "I was shaking I was so nervous," Bartucci said, "I was only 18 years old and to meet Michael Jackson, that was big." They talked for a bit and Jackson told him that they were going to cruise the country for a few days before his big tour started. In the limousine with them were 2 body guards and a small boy. As they talked the doors locked. Michael Jackson leaned over, put his finger to his lips and said shhh.
"And then all hell broke lose," Bartucci said.
Bartucci's nightmare was just beginning. They stayed in the New Orleans business district for about ten and half hours. That's where the abuse began. In the back of that limousine Bartucci was beat, molested and drugged. Michael cut Bartucci with a cocaine laced razor blade and proceeded to lick off the blood. This type of behavior would continue over the next week. One of the body guards bashed Bartucci's head on the concrete with the rest of his body still in the limousine. At the moment he didn't know, but his optic nerve had been busted in that moment. They then drove from New Orleans to Los Angeles, California and back. "There was no Neverland and that time," Bartucci said. Michael Jackson was living in Los Angeles at that time. During their 9 day ride together Michael Jackson disclosed information to Bartucci about how he feared his father and Jermaine would attempt to kill him for his money. He also told Bartucci that his father had forced him to take out and insurance policy on himself before the Victory Tour. Michael spoke about his father getting his sister Latoya pregnant and taking her to have the baby aborted manually. The abuse did not end in the back seat of that limousine. Bartucci was taken to Body Style steel company where metal rods where shoved in his chest. Jackson returned Bartucci to New Orleans and left.
The abuse Bartucci experienced left gaps in his memory about what had happened. His father took him to a service hospital to receive medical attention. But Bartucci could not tell his father who or what had happened to him. This kind of "lack of knowledge" is common in victims of sexual abuse, molestation, torture or events of extreme shock. Bartucci did not re-discover his memory of these events until almost 20 years later.
The events that happened on that May day at the Worlds Fair in New Orleans changed Joseph Thomas Bartucci Jr.'s life forever. The scars he bore were not only physical, but mental. And like all scars Bartucci would live with these forever. The razor blade scar in on his upper right arm, the metal rod scar is about an inch below his left nipple, he has a groin scar near his left testicle and a 95% loss of vision due to having his head bashed into the concrete, leaving him with just 5% vision. He suffered two heart attacks at the age of 18 due to stress and anxiety.
Having experienced all this at such a promising age Bartucci was forever changed. He completely lost trust in others, it interrupted all different kinds of relationships he's had, most importantly it provided a lot of physical limitations. He became a person that worried, had stress and was doubtful. Yet he wasn't sure at the time what had caused it.
"This experience changed my perception and knowledge of people completely," Bartucci said. His interpersonal relationships failed because he just couldn't accept people that way he needed to.