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Singer R. Kelly is facing a new round of accusations of sexual misconduct by parents of several women over the age of consent who contend that he is holding their daughters as sex slaves, according to a BuzzFeed report by veteran Chicago journalist Jim DeRogatis.
The women's parents have enlisted the help of local police and the FBI in attempts to regain contact with their children, but have largely been unable to proceed because law enforcement officials say the women are legally free to engage in consensual relationships.
A representative for Kelly's record label, RCA Records, did not immediately respond to The Times' request for comment on Monday.
The lengthy BuzzFeed report is written by DeRogatis, the former Chicago Sun-Times reporter who in 2000 co-bylined a story with Abdon Pallasch that outlined Kelly's history of alleged sexual abuse, citing court records and interviews that contended the star had a history of preying on teenaged women, some believed to be as young as 15. Two years later the Sun-Times reported that Chicago police we investigating a videotape that allegedly showed Kelly having sex with an underage girl.
Kelly was subsequently acquitted on charges of child pornography. He has settled multiple lawsuits involving sexual misconduct allegations.
In the BuzzFeed story, Kelly is accused of holding several women against their will at homes he owns in Illinois, where the age of consent is 17, and in Georgia, where the age of consent is reached at age 16.
DeRogatis interviewed several of the parents as well as three women identified as former members of Kelly's inner circle --Cheryl Mack, Kitti Jones and Asante McGee -- who accuse Kelly of exerting "mind control" over the women who are staying in those residences.
The story alleges that Kelly imposes strict rules of conduct on young women mostly in their late teens and early to mid-20s, limiting their ability to contact anyone but him and his entourage and punishing those who violate any of those rules.
According to Mack, Jones and McGee, Kelly "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," DeRogatis writes.
He also notes that "the law says that consenting adults may take part in any relationship they want, no matter how nontraditional. Welfare checks by police in both Illinois and Georgia in the past year didn’t lead to any charges; in January, the aspiring singer from Georgia told Cook County police she was 'fine and did not want to be bothered.'”
For the Record (July 17, 2017, 6 p.m.): An earlier version of this story misreported numerous details regarding the past allegations against R. Kelly. The post stated that Kelly was acquitted on charges of having sex with a minor. He was acquitted on charges of child pornography. Additionally, the post wrongly characterized a 2000 Chicago Sun-Times story, which outlined years of alleged sexual abuse by Kelly. The subjects of that story were not connected to a videotape later sent to the Sun-Times that allegedly showed Kelly having sex with an underage girl.