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One week after singer R. Kelly was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, Asante McGee, one of numerous women who have accused Kelly of sexual misconduct, is speaking out on the case.
McGee first told her story in Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary, describing the alleged mistreatment she endured during her relationship with the 52-year-old singer. She again detailed her former relationship with Kelly, her views on his arrest, and her hopes for the outcome of the case in an essay published by USA Today on Friday
R. Kelly, the performer, and Robert Kelly, the man, are two “drastically different people,” McGee said.
“My experience resembles the stories of the other women caught in R. Kelly's web. I was a superfan who didn't believe the allegations made against him in the past. After all, in court he was always acquitted, or settlements were made out of court,” she said. “I first met R. Kelly at a promo show for his upcoming tour, in Atlanta in September 2013. That started two years of my being groomed and gaslighted. Eventually, I moved into his Atlanta home, where other women were already living.”
When she and the other women were living in Kelly’s home, he controlled “every aspect of our lives,” she said, including the way they dressed, who they were allowed to talk to, and when they were allowed to leave their rooms. McGee also suggested that Kelly not only filmed the sexual encounters he had with the women, but he would also share those videos with "the men in his circle.”
Kelly’s so-called inner circle has come under growing scrutiny in recent weeks, following the release of court documents wherein prosecutors suggest that Kelly’s manager helped him proposition a 16-year-old girl — at her 16th birthday dinner — by giving the child Kelly’s card and phone number and telling her that the singer wanted her to call him, even doing so in front of the child’s mother.
Kelly, who was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008 following the discovery of a sex tape allegedly involving an underage girl, has routinely denied all allegations against him. He's entered a not guilty plea to his current charges, but new evidence against Kelly seems to be steadily emerging. Attorney Michael Avenatti has already supplied Chicago prosecutors with two tapes that he claims show Kelly sexually assaulting an underage girl, and said that he’s been made aware of a third tape.
Kelly and his supporters have tried to clear his name since the premiere of the “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary, and one such tactic included the appearance of a Facebook page, “Surviving Lies,” that targeted Kelly’s accusers, including McGee, by publishing the women’s private information. The page was quickly pulled down.
After learning that Kelly had been indicted last week, McGee “experienced strong feelings of relief and vindication,” she said.
She also said that she hopes Kelly will get help, a sentiment Kelly’s younger brother Carey Kelly has also expressed.
“I also pray that R. Kelly gets the help he needs,” she wrote. “I hope those who continue to support him and continue to shame us will soon realize they were wrong. How would they react if someone close to them was being abused in any way? What if that person was their best friend or sister or daughter? When women see society defend a person like R. Kelly, the self-described ‘Pied Piper of R&B,’ victims become afraid to speak out against their abuser.”
McGee said that she eventually found the strength to leave Kelly and later reached out to the parents of other women she lived with in the singer’s house to “warn them” of what was going on. Her “primary concern” is for the women who are still involved with Kelly, she said, and she hopes that all of Kelly’s alleged victims get justice “if not from his fans and defenders, at least from a court of law.”
Kelly, who could face up to 70 years in prison, was released from jail after spending last weekend in police custody, thanks to a 47-year-old fan named Valencia Love who helped him make bail. He is scheduled to appear in court again on March 22.
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