TEL AVIV, DEC. 8 -- In a statement quickly branded as full of lies by the rest of the Jackson family, Michael Jackson's sister La Toya today said the pop superstar has molested children for years and threatened to kill her if she told anyone.

At a news conference called on short notice at a Tel Aviv hotel, Jackson said she could no longer "be a silent collaborator of his crimes against small innocent children.

"If I remain silent, then that means that I feel the guilt and humiliation that these children are feeling and I think it's very wrong."

Her voice breaking, La Toya Jackson said: "I love Michael very dearly, but I feel even more sorry for these children because they don't have a life anymore."

Other members of the family spoke with KCBS-TV tonight from outside their Encino, Calif., home.

"La Toya is lying and I'll tell her to her face she's lying. And she knows it," Katherine Jackson said, accusing her daughter of "trying to make money off of {Michael's} downfall."

Brother Tito told KCBS-TV that Michael "would never, ever hurt a kid. This is ludicrous."

Jackson faces a civil lawsuit in Los Angeles from a 13-year-old boy who claims he was molested by the superstar singer. Police are investigating the allegations, but no criminal charges have been filed.

Michael Jackson's lawyer, Bert Fields, told Vanity Fair magazine that Jackson "lives the life of a 12-year-old." He said Jackson shared a bed with the boy but did not abuse him.

The 35-year-old singer canceled a world tour last month and disappeared, saying he needed treatment for an addiction to painkillers brought on by his anguish over the allegations. Fields said Jackson will return to the United States to testify in his defense.

"It's always been little boys," La Toya Jackson said today. "I hope he gets help."

Jackson, who is estranged from her family, said she has seen checks made out to her brothers' alleged victims. She said her family was backing Michael because they were afraid he would cut them off financially.

Her relations with her family have been strained for several years. In 1991 she alleged that her father, Joseph, had sexually and physically abused her when she was a child, a claim denied by the family.

"I have been hurt by {abuse} too," La Toya said at the news conference. "My father molested me sexually and I don't like it. I don't like the way it feels to this day. ... I will not have a relationship with him because of that. I love him dearly but I cannot.

"... That's what I don't want to see happen to these little kids because I know what it feels like in the heart."

La Toya's husband and manager, Jack Gordon, asked if he feared for his and his wife's lives, said he had alerted both a private investigator and a lawyer. "There have been two major kidnap attempts on La Toya. They were paid and financed by Michael Jackson."

La Toya said: "We travel with a bodyguard with us."

Jackson is also a singer, but without the drawing power of her famous brother. She recently canceled the remainder of her South Africa tour after a Cape Town concert drew fewer than 700 people. Earlier concerts had attracted even smaller audiences.

Jermaine Jackson told KCBS-TV that La Toya and Gordon were trying to revive interest among tabloid newspapers and tabloid television shows that would pay them for their story.