Fresh investigations have been launched into allegations of sexual and physical abuse against R Kelly by prosecutors in Chicago and Atlanta, after the airing of Surviving R Kelly, a documentary that contained claims of abuse by the R&B singer. (It aired over three nights on the Lifetime Channel.)
Chicago prosecutor Kimberly Foxx urged any potential victims of Kelly to come forward, saying: “There’s nothing that can be done to investigate these allegations without the cooperation of both victims and witnesses. We cannot seek justice without you.” Atlanta lawyer Gerald Griggs, representing a couple who claim Kelly is holding their daughter against her will, has said he was approached by the district attorney’s office regarding potential abuse by Kelly.
The investigations will increase pressure on the embattled singer, who has long been dogged with accusations of sexual, physical and psychological abuse of women. Throughout 2017 and 2018, Kelly was accused of holding five women in a sex “cult”, with a former girlfriend alleging that he had sexual contact with girls as young as 14. In October, his ex-wife Andrea Kelly accused him of domestic violence. Earlier in his career, he was tried and acquitted on child pornography charges.
Kelly has long denied any wrongdoing, even recording a song professing his innocence, singing: “I’m so falsely accused.”
By drawing together years of reporting into the R&B star, notably by journalist Jim DeRogatis, Surviving R Kelly has had an explosive impact in the US since it was broadcast last week. Calls to the US National Sexual Assault Hotline rose 20%, with Jodi Omear of the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network acknowledging: “Hearing about sexual violence on the news or television shows can be difficult for survivors … We often see an increase in the number of people reaching out to the National Sexual Assault Hotline for help during high profile stories.”
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