A woman has accused singer R. Kelly of intentionally infecting her with a sexually transmitted disease when she was 19, in addition to holding her against her will, plying her with illegal drugs and alcohol, and assaulting her. The accuser’s attorney says Kelly was attempting to groom her for a sex cult the singer has been previously accused of running.
The Washington Post reports that the unnamed woman met Kelly in June 2017, when she was 19 years old, and was involved in a “relationship” with him that ended this past February. In December, according to Lee Merritt, the woman’s attorney, Kelly infected her with an STD while he was in Dallas for a concert. The woman has filed a complaint with the Dallas Police Department, and plans to file a federal civil complaint against Kelly.
Merritt told WaPo in a statement (emphasis ours):
[O]ur client was the victim of several forms of criminal misconduct by Kelly, including, but not limited to, unlawful restraint, furnishing alcohol and illegal drugs to a minor, and aggravated assault (via the referenced intentional STD infection). These offenses occurred while our client was being groomed to join Kelly’s sex cult. Kelly gradually introduced the cult to our client over the course of their relationship, culminating with an explanation that she would have to sign a contract and offer collateral information about herself and her family for Kelly’s protection.
In July 2017, BuzzFeed News reporter Jim DeRogatis spoke with a number of parents who said they believed Kelly was holding their daughters against their will; DeRogatis also interviewed several of Kelly’s former employees, who alleged Kelly keeps young women in his recording studio and in assigned “guest houses” as part of an abusive sex “cult” of sorts.
A woman in Kelly’s inner circle affirmed the BuzzFeed report to Jezebel, alleging the women were not technically captive, but were sexually coerced to the point of exhibiting “Stockholm Syndrome.” In August, 24-year-old Jerhonda Pace claimed she too was part of Kelly’s alleged cult, with Pace alleging Kelly repeatedly coerced her into having sex with him when she was a minor. Last month, Kelly’s ex-girlfriend, Kitti Jones, accused Kelly of admitting he groomed a 14-year-old to be his “sex slave.”
The parents of one woman they believe Kelly is holding hostage told WaPo they’re convinced Kelly is passing around an STD. “We felt from the beginning that the reason he’s holding the girls is he has some kind of STD that he couldn’t cure,” Timothy Savage, who has not seen his daughter Jocelyn since 2016, told the paper.
Kelly, who was acquitted in a 2008 child pornography trial, has denied all allegations, including, through his attorney, the most recent charges outlined in the WaPo piece. Despite the slew of allegations mounting against him, he has three scheduled upcoming concert dates, according to Ticketmaster.