WHEN Michael Jackson called Sean Astin on the set of The Goonies, his mother, actress and Oscar winner Patty Duke, was concerned.
Astin, who played the lead role in the classic 1985 film alongside another child star, Corey Feldman, had gone home sick, shutting down production for a couple of days. Jackson was calling to "see if I was feeling OK", Astin recalled.
Duke wasn't impressed. "I don't understand. What does he want? Why is he calling you?"
A child star and sexual abuse survivor herself, Duke knew about how vulnerable children in Hollywood can be.
But, while the cops were focused on the King of Pop, there was a paedophile ring preying on Hollywood's youngest stars.
What Duke and Astin didn't know at the time was that the abuse was happening right next door.
Feldman had been already struggling with problems at home. Less than a year after filming wrapped on The Goonies, Feldman found himself "surrounded by [paedophiles]. Literally. They were everywhere, like vultures," he would later reveal.
In an essay published this week on TwitLonger, Astin reflected on being a child actor and his time with Feldman on the set of The Goonies. They were both 13 years old.
Astin, who appears in season two of Stranger Things, said he had never been molested himself and while he was unaware of the depths of Feldman's problems, he knew his friend was doing it tough.
"Some kids don't have supervision or any core support. I observed this dynamic with my dear sweet friend, Corey Feldman," Astin wrote.
"While we were filming The Goonies it was obvious that he was having a rough time. We were friends and I tried to be as supportive as possible. Beyond emotional affinity, it was impossible to figure out some other way of helping."
He described Feldman as a "strong, confident, cocky kid, who was wise beyond his years" but that he "lived with a sense of dread for him."
"I deeply regret not knowing more," Astin wrote. "I'm disappointed in myself that I didn't know enough or do enough to help Corey or any kid who was in my orbit that was abused in any way."
Eventually, as the pair's friendship strengthened, Feldman confided in Astin some of what he had experienced.
"I remember aching for him, but not being surprised," Astin wrote. "When the names of certain people come up, I get a gut feeling, I bet that guy's a pervert or that dude's bad news."
Astin's essay focused mostly on Feldman's allegations but he also wrote about his bond with Alyssa Milano, who popularised the #MeToo anti-abuse/harrassment campaign. The three were all known to each other as child stars.
"It's important to me that I help [Corey] protect the people that get drawn into his orbit. I thank Alyssa for reaching out and I offer my affirmation that she should not feel shamed or guilted for some perceived omission of aide. She too was a kid. We all were. And now that we are adults, we have an even greater responsibility to one another."
For Feldman, he said the abuse started when "Ron", a man in his 20s, had given him drugs and put a hand on the teenager's thigh.
"He was my assistant, my driver, my chaperone and also basically my guardian," he told The Hollywood Reporter.
"I had taken some pills, some concoction that Ron had made up … Ron came over and sat down next to me, a triple-X magazine in his hands," he wrote in his 2013 biography, Coreyography. "Ron started touching me, reaching across my thigh to the crotch of my pants … When I woke up, he was on me, touching me, tugging on the zipper of my pants. I realised it was happening again."
Last week, Feldman named the man as former assistant and actor John Grissom, before calling the LAPD's Elite Special Assault Section live on Dr. Oz.
"This guy, on his MySpace page and his Facebook page has pictures of me and Corey Haim," Feldman said. "He still taunts it and flaunts it."
Various news outlets have confirmed Grissom served time in jail in 2003 under child molestation charges and is currently a "fugitive of justice". Grissom worked with Feldman on 1988's License to Drive and 1989's Dream A Little Dream.
On Monday on Megyn Kelly's TV show, Feldman also named child talent manager and convicted sex offender Marty Weiss, who has not commented on the allegations.
Feldman tweeted he had filed a report with the LAPD.
"If you listen to Corey talk about all of this now … people asked him, 'Why don't you go to the cops about the people who abused you?'" Astin wrote. "He says, 'I did go to the cops. I told them I've been molested, here are the names, but Michael Jackson is not that guy.' All they wanted was to get Michael Jackson, so they didn't follow his leads."