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R. Kelly Responds to ‘Abusive Cult’ Allegations

Through attorney Linda Mensch, R. Kelly has issued a statement in response to allegations in a BuzzFeed News article published Monday that he is holding young women in an “abusive cult.”

“Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him,” the statement reads. “Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such allegations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.”

In the report, three sets of parents claim that the singer is holding their daughters in an abusive “cult.” While their identities have been withheld, three former associates of the singer also spoke with reporter Jim DeRogatis, repeating the parents’ accusations and adding details of their own — one says “he is a master at mind control.”

While some of the parents, who have not seen their daughters for many months, have contacted police, the young women claim that they are not being held against their wills.

Over the years Kelly has had multiple accusations of sexual misconduct leveled against him, including a 2008 case where he was acquitted on 14 charges of making child pornography; that case centered around a videotape that prosecutors alleged showed Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl. DeRogatis, who received the tape from an anonymous source in 2000 and turned it over to police, wrote the article that launched the investigation.

The new report claims that the young women fell under Kelly’s sway after being brought to him by their parents in an effort to further their musical careers, but that he then “brainwashed” them.

According to parents and the former associates, Kelly:

* keeps several young women at his homes in Atlanta and Chicago;
* replaces their cell phones with ones specifically used to communicate with him and forbids them to contact their families;
* requires they call him “daddy” and ask permission to leave the studio or their residences;
* films their sexual encounters with him;
* abuses them physically and verbally

The three former Kelly associates who support the parents’ claims — Cheryl Mack, Kitti Jones, and Asante McGee — say that “six women live in properties rented by Kelly in Chicago and the Atlanta suburbs, and he 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.”

In an interview with Variety on Monday, DeRogatis said that the parents are expected to hold a press conference imminently.

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