R. Kelly’s lawyer on Monday released a statement denying allegations by parents that he is holding several women over the age of consent as sex slaves, the Los Angeles Times reports:
“Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him,” his attorney, Linda S. Mensch, said in a statement obtained by The Times. “Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such allegations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.”
Several parents, backed by former entourage singers, claim that R. Kelly is keeping their daughters in an abusive “cult,” BuzzFeed reports.
The R&B singer allegedly draws young women into his circle by promising to help their music career. Instead, he “brainwashes” the women and holds them at his homes in Chicago and Atlanta.
He requires them to call him “daddy” and punishes disobedience. According to the claims, he also films his sexual encounters with his captives.
A parent identified as “J.” last saw her daughter in December. She told Buzzfeed that her daughter seemed brainwashed.
The mother stated to Buzzfeed: “[She] looked like a prisoner — it was horrible. I hugged her and hugged her. But she just kept saying she’s in love and [Kelly] is the one who cares for her. I don’t know what to do.”
If she’s able to retrieve her daughter, the mother plans to seek treatment from an expert who could “reprogram” her daughter.
Some of the young women, however, have disputed the brainwashing allegation during police checks on their safety, the outlet reported.
BuzzFeed confirmed the young women’s identities but did not release their names. The outlet did, however, identify three former Kelly entourage members who confirmed the allegations: Cheryl Mack, Kitti Jones, and Asante McGee.
BuzzFeed published this comment from Kelly’s attorney Linda Mensch:
“We can only wonder why folks would persist in defaming a great artist who loves his fans, works 24/7, and takes care of all of the people in his life. He works hard to become the best person and artist he can be. It is interesting that stories and tales debunked many years ago turn up when his goal is to stop the violence; put down the guns; and embrace peace and love. I suppose that is the price of fame. Like all of us, Mr. Kelly deserves a personal life. Please respect that.”
Kelly is no stranger to sexual misconduct allegations, including a 2008 case in which the singer was acquitted on 14 counts of making child pornography.