A story published Monday by BuzzFeed claims Grammy-winning singer R. Kelly “held women against their will in a cult” at his homes in two cities, including one in metro Atlanta.
The story, titled “Inside The Pied Piper of R&B’s ‘Cult,’” cites as sources three sets of parents of the women allegedly living with Robert Sylvester Kelly, along with a few people formerly part of his “inner circle”. They say these women live in Kelly’s homes in Chicago and in Johns Creek in an environment that is “an abusive cult.”
According to the story, the women who live with him are forbidden to contact their families, must ask his permission to go anywhere or communicate with anyone and are required to call him “Daddy.” The people cited in the story also say that Kelly films his sexual encounters with the women.
Johns Creek police told the AJC on Monday that despite the allegations in the story, “no further investigation is being conducted at this time” of Kelly and alleged happenings at his metro Atlanta home.
Kelly’s attorney, Linda Mensch, sent a statement to the AJC refuting the claims.
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“Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him,” the statement said. “Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such allegations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.”
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Tim and Jonjelyn Savage, the parents of a woman mentioned in the BuzzFeed story by reporter Jim DeRogatis, held a press conference Monday outside a home on Creek Wind Court in Johns Creek they say is Kelly’s.
Reporters knocked on the door of the house before the press conference Monday and no one answered. Paper blinds covered every window.
The parents say they haven’t seen their daughter since December 2016, and have only communicated with her a handful of times since then through text message.
“And I’m not even sure that was her,” Timothy Savage said. “… My daughter is being held against her will. The last time I saw my daughter she was in a horrible condition.”
Savage added that he believes his daughter now lives at Kelly’s Chicago home.
The AJC obtained a report from a well-being check that Johns Creek police conducted on Dec. 27, 2016 after the Savages called and said their daughter was being “beat” by Kelly and believed their daughter was “part of the R. Kelly cult.”
According to the report, Johns Creek police went to two homes, the one on Creek Wind Court and another on Old Homestead Trail. They checked the house on Creek Wind Court, which Jonjelyn Savage believes was Kelly’s guest home. When police arrived, the door was open and no one was home.
Before contacting Johns Creek police, the parents filed a missing persons report with campus police at Georgia Gwinnett College in Lawrenceville, where their daughter enrolled and began living in dorms there in June 2016, according to the BuzzFeed story. The parents and the woman’s roommate told BuzzFeed that she started skipping classes and didn’t show up to take her finals in December.
One of the three former members of Kelly’s inner circle mentioned in the story, Asante McGee, was also at the press conference Monday and said she lived with Kelly for three years and has been questioned by the FBI and Johns Creek police about her time with the singer.
“I was always a fan of R. Kelly until I got behind closed doors,” McGee told reporters Monday. “… You have to ask to take bath, to shower, to eat, permission to go from one room to the next. He really manipulates your mind because of who he is and his fame … (Kelly) forced you to do sexual things that you were uncomfortable with.”
In 2008, Kelly was acquitted on 14 charges of making child pornography. In April, a lawsuit was filed against Kelly in Illinois for having an affair with the wife of a police officer. The BuzzFeed story says several other civil lawsuits against Kelly have been settled out of court with cash payments. In a 2016 interview with GQ, Kelly claimed he was sexually abused by a family member as a child.
Kelly is scheduled to play at the Wolf Creek Amphitheater in College Park on Aug. 25. The venue is owned by Fulton County but managed by LiveNation, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment.