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R. Kelly has found himself at the center of another investigation.
Multiple parents have come forward claiming their teenage daughters are being held against their will as some kind of "abusive" sex "cult." Their claims are part of Chicago journalist Jim DeRogatis' newly published report for BuzzFeed, in which a number of former members of Kelly's inner circle also described a situation where the 50-year-old singer "mentally and sometimes physically [abuses women] to keep them subservient to him."
The report goes on to allege Kelly dictates every part of the women's lives, "from what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep, and how they engage in sexual encounters that he records."
According to DeRogatis, at least six women have been living with Kelly at his properties in Chicago and the Atlanta suburbs. Among the alleged victims are said to be a 25-year-old woman who's been part of Kelly's entourage for seven years, a 19-year-old model who's recently been photographed with the singer in public and named on gossip sites, a 26-year-old Atlanta songwriter who met Kelly around 2009, and an 18-year-old Florida singer who is describe as "his number one girl.”
One mother, who said she has not seen her daughter since last December, recalled her last encounter. "[She] looked like a prisoner — it was horrible," she said of her daughter. "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."
This would hardly be Kelly's first encounter with controversy of this nature. Kelly was tried in 2008 on child pornography charges after he was accused of having sex with a then 14-year-old girl and videotaping it. He was eventually acquitted, but he has been accused of having a number of underage relationships and he has settled more than a dozen lawsuits out of court with cash payments.
Kelly has not reacted to the report directly, but his lawyer, Linda Mensch, responded writing:
"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."