Monday 18 February 2019

R.Kelly denies sexual assault allegations while daughter breaks her silence and calls him a 'monster'

Demonstrators gather near the studio of singer R. Kelly to call for a boycott of his music after allegations of sexual abuse against young girls were raised on the highly-rated Lifetime mini-series
Demonstrators gather near the studio of singer R. Kelly to call for a boycott of his music after allegations of sexual abuse against young girls were raised on the highly-rated Lifetime mini-series "Surviving R. Kelly" on January 09, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois
R. Kelly performs in concert at Barclays Center on September 25, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/Getty Images)
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

A lawyer for R.Kelly has denied any wrongdoing on behalf of the disgraced singer, who has been accused of a number of sexual assault allegations in a recent documentary.

Surviving R. Kelly, a six-part programme aired its premiere episode on US television last week, and will feature statements from a number of women who allege the singer assaulted them in claims dating back 20 years. Kitti Jones says the R&B singer physically abused her, as well as accusing him of sexual coercion, emotional manipulation and controlling her life.

In 2017, he was accused of running a "sex cult" where women were coerced into having sex with him and other women, while he allegedly controlled their every move. He has also been accused of statutory rape and brainwashing.

His ex-wife Andrea Kelly, whom he divorced in 2009, accused him of domestic abuse last year and feared for her life during one attack during their 13-year marriage, which ended in 2009. She previously filed for a protective order against the singer in 2005, saying he hit her when she said she wanted a divorce.

R. Kelly's daughter Joann Kelly, aka Buku Abi, with whom he is estranged, called him a "monster" on Instagram, writing: "I am well aware of who and what he is. I grew up in that house."

With fresh focus on the claims, which have prompted a new criminal investigation, his attorney Steve Greenberg said his client strongly denies all the allegations.

R. Kelly performs in concert at Barclays Center on September 25, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/Getty Images)
R. Kelly performs in concert at Barclays Center on September 25, 2015 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Mike Pont/Getty Images)

"The allegations aren’t true because he never knowingly had sex with an underage woman, he never forced anyone to do anything, he never held anyone captive, he never abused anyone," Mr Greenberg told the Associated Press. He added that the singer's streaming downloads have increased since the documentary aired, saying: "His millions of fans love him and they're listening to him."

Earlier this week, Mr Greenberg confirmed that R.Kelly wed late singer Aaliyah, who died in a place crash in 2001, when she was 15 years old and he was 27, saying she lied about her age and likening their marriage to that of Elvis and Priscilla Presley, who was 21 when they married in 1967.

Surviving R Kelly follows the BBC’s R Kelly: Sex, Girls & Videotapes, which was released last year. It alleged that the singer was holding women against their will and running a “sex cult”.

Mr Greenberg criticised Lifetime, accusing those who made Surviving R Kelly of telling women what to say on camera, and slammed Cook County State’s attorney Kim Foxx for asking potential victims to come forward, saying that “invites wrongful accusations”.

Ms Foxx’s office said in a brief statement Friday that people have contacted prosecutors and that authorities are “following up on these calls”.

Even as he denied the allegations, Mr Greenberg said he did not know details about them. He asserted that in the past women have “come on to” Kelly in the hopes that he could help them in their own performing careers, then became “disgruntled” when their own careers stalled and issued false allegations.

He could not say whether Kelly, 52, ever met the women interviewed in the Lifetime show, “met them one night when he was drinking and partying” or even whether he might have lived with them.

But he said that was not necessary to determine that they lied, noting that none of them ever went to police or presented anyone with evidence of physical abuse.

Mr Greenberg also questioned why some of the women did not come forward after a 27-minute video surfaced in 2002 that showed a man purported to be Kelly engaged in sex acts involving an underage girl.

Kelly, whose given name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was acquitted in 2008 on charges of videotaping himself having sex with a girl who prosecutors allege was as young as 13.

Additional reporting by Press Association

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