R. Kelly Accused Of Brainwashing Women
Over the years R. Kelly has faced charges of child pornography, sexual harassment and group sex with minors. This week news broke that the R&B singer/producer is being accused of brainwashing young women into obeying cult-like rules while living in his homes.
Kelly has denied the claims.
An investigative report was published Monday on BuzzFeed’s website by contributor Jim DeRogatis. The music critic, who formerly worked for many years at the Chicago Sun-Times, has written extensively about Kelly’s legal troubles and was the reporter who anonymously received the videotape that allegedly showed the singer having sex with a 14-year-old girl. Kelly was acquitted on 14 counts of child pornography in 2008, according to the New York Times.
In addition to interviewing the family members of two aspiring singers who are allegedly being held against their will, DeRogatis also spoke with three former members of Kelly’s inner circle: Cheryl Mack, who worked as Kelly’s personal assistant for a year and a half, and Kitti Jones and Asante McGee, who “both said they lived with Kelly and had sexual relationships with the star at different times over the past five years before leaving.”
Rich Prepetit – R. Kelly
DeVos Performance Hall, Grand Rapids, Mich.
DeRogatis reports that the former members claim that “six women live in properties rented by Kelly in Chicago and the Atlanta suburbs, and he controls every aspect of their lives: dictating what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep, and how they engage in sexual encounters that he records.”
The former members of the inner circle claim that the women must call Kelly “Daddy” and that they are known as his “babies.” Kelly is also accused of confiscating the women’s cell phones and replacing them with new phones that he controls as far as contacting the outside world.
Mack and Jones told DeRogatis that Kelly has been known to punish the women physically and verbally for breaking his “rules.” This claim is backed up by the former college roommate of one of the women allegedly living under his control, who told the reporter that her friend said Kelly “whupped her behind” for laughing at a joke told by cab driver because he was a man.
Derogatis reports that the family members he spoke to said they have had very little contact with the women since they started living with Kelly.
The reporter points out that all of the women living with Kelly are of legal age, and “of course, the law says that consenting adults may take part in any relationship they want, no matter how nontraditional.” Derogatis adds that welfare checks have been done in Illinois and George without any charges brought against Kelly.
Timothy and Jonjelyn Savage – the parents of Joycelyn Savage, one of the alleged victims – took part in a press conference July 17 about the accusations, along with McGee. In response to a question about evidence that his daughter is being held against her will, Timothy said that she has Stockholm syndrome, in which hostages develop feelings of trust and affection toward their captors.
Joycelyn Savage, 21, told TMZ in a video interview July 17 that she is fine.
“I’m in a happy place in my life, and I’m not being brainwashed or anything like that. … I just want everybody to know, my parents and everybody in the world, that I am totally fine. … I’ve never been held hostage or anything like that of that nature,” Savage said.
In response to the TMZ reporter’s question about where she was currently living she said, “I wouldn’t want to speak on that.” She had the same answer when asked if she had other roommates or was free to go.
Kelly’s attorney Linda Mensch released the following statement July 17 (via Reuters): “Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him. Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such allegations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.”
Rolling Stone posted a summary Tuesday of R. Kelly’s “scandals and alleged sex crimes,” beginning with his marriage to Aaliyah when he was 27 and she was 15.
The alleged group sex with minors case was settled for $250,000 in 1998, according to the Sun-Times (via Rolling Stone). The sexual harassment case filed by Tracy Sampson in 2001 was settled for an unknown amount, according to Rolling Stone. Kelly also settled two cases filed in 2002 for undisclosed sums – a lawsuit by Patrice Jones claiming Kelly had sex with her at age 16 and then pressured her to have an abortion, and a lawsuit by Montina Woods alleging that Kelly filmed a sex tape without her knowledge.