Early this morning, BuzzFeed News released an extremely damning, not entirely surprising bombshell of a story from Chicago-based music writer Jim DeRogatis detailing what his sources describe as a “cult” of young women, mostly in their late teens, who are allegedly being systematically groomed for abusive sexual relationships with R&B singer R. Kelly. The story claims to have verified the women’s identities, with information on the situation coming from their parents and other family members as well as former members of the group.
DeRogatis takes steps to conceal the women’s identities, but a story like this is still a legal minefield for DeRogatis and BuzzFeed, especially since the alleged victims are over the age of consent and say they’re not being held against their will. And Kelly has already lawyered up, releasing a terse statement denying everything through his attorney, Linda Mensch. Released to Variety, the statement reads:
Mr. Robert Kelly is both alarmed and disturbed at the recent revelations attributed to him. Mr. Kelly unequivocally denies such allegations and will work diligently and forcibly to pursue his accusers and clear his name.
In other words, lawsuits are more than likely forthcoming. (Kelly, as you may recall, beat child pornography charges related to an infamous tape allegedly showing him urinating on an underage girl in 2008, after a six-and-a-half year legal battle.) DeRogatis also says that a press conference with the parents who served as sources for the story will be held soon in Atlanta.