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.
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The story, titled "Inside The Pied Piper of R&B's 'Cult,'" cites as sources three sets of parents of the women they say are living with Robert Sylvester Kelly, also known as R. 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, Georgia, in an environment that is "an abusive cult."
According to the story, the parents and former members of Kelly's inner circle said that 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 them.
Johns Creek police told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution 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.
The AJC obtained a report from a well-being check that Johns Creek police conducted on Dec. 27, 2016 after parents of one Atlanta woman called and said their daughter was being "beat" by Kelly and believed their daughter was "part of the R. Kelly cult."
The mother – who is identified in the BuzzFeed story as "J." by reporter Jim DeRogatis – told police that Kelly is abusive and that she hadn't seen her 22-year-old daughter in three weeks.
The AJC is not identifying the parents of the Atlanta woman in the story, to protect the identity of the alleged victim.
According to the report, Johns Creek police went to two homes, one on Creek Wind Court and another on Old Homestead Trail. They checked the house on Creek Wind Court, which the mother believes was Kelly’s guest home. When police arrived, the door was open and no one was home.
The parents have announced that they will hold a press conference at 5 p.m. on Monday in front of the home on Creek Wind Court.
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The three inner circle sources include Cheryl Mack, once Kelly’s personal assistant; Kitti Jones and Asante McGee, who both lived with Kelly and had sexual relationships with him at different times over the past five years, they say in the story.
Mack called Kelly a "puppet master." Jones described her time with Kelly as being trapped. She also detailed some of the experiences of the other women the sources say are being held by Kelly, noting that if the women broke any of Kelly's rules, he punished them physically and verbally.
“R. Kelly is the sweetest person you will ever want to meet,” McGee says in the story. “But Robert is the devil.”
In 2008, Kelly was acquitted on 14 charges of making child pornography. In April, a lawsuit was filed against Kelly in Illinois accusing him of having an affair with the wife of a police officer. The BuzzFeed story reported 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.
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The AJC reached out to Kelly’s lawyer, Linda Mensch, but she did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“It is interesting that stories and tales debunked many years ago turn up when (Kelly’s) goal is to stop the violence; put down the guns; and embrace peace and love,” Mensch said in the BuzzFeed story. “I suppose that is the price of fame. Like all of us, Mr. Kelly deserves a personal life. Please respect that.”