A woman who used to work for R. Kelly’s record label as a teenager has alleged that the controversial R&B star sexually abused her when she was only 16 years old.
Tracy Sampson, now 36, told her story to NBC’s “Dateline” this week, and alleged that the inappropriate contact started when she first met Kelly as an intern at Epic Records over the summer break of 1999, NBC News reports. She said that their relationship continued until she was 18 years old.
“I was in love with him. I just didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know if this was normal, I didn’t know if this was how adults acted,” she told NBC News. “I just didn’t know. I didn’t know.”
During her first televised interview, set to air on Friday night, Sampson recalled an instance during which Kelly allegedly asked her, “Can I kiss you?” She said that she told him no, at which point he allegedly responded, “Well, give me a hug.”
“And then, like, when I gave him a hug, he just started kissing me,” she said.
Sampson ended the relationship with Kelly when she came of age and filed a lawsuit against him, alleging sexual abuse, NBC News reports. Although Kelly allegedly denied ever having sex with her, the two reached a settlement agreement out of court, wherein Kelly paid her $250,000.
Kelly’s attorney Steven Greenberg told NBC that Kelly was not his client during the time Sampson alleges the abuse occurred, but he maintains that Kelly is innocent and has not abused Sampson, nor any other of the numerous other women who have accused him of sexual misconduct throughout his decades long career.
“The record companies are abandoning him,” Greenberg told NBC News. “Other artists are all of a sudden acting like they’re shocked by these rumors that are floating around. He’s having a very difficult time. But he is strong, he’s tough. He wants to put out his music and continue performing for people. And I expect that’s what he’ll be able to do.”
Sampson’s story will be featured in Dateline NBC’s “Accused: The R. Kelly Story,” set to premiere on Friday night.
Sampson shared her claims for the first time during an interview with The Washington Post in 2018, telling the paper that she didn’t realize until she was an adult just how “gross and pedophile-ish” Kelly’s actions were.
“He makes you feel like he’s a wounded puppy, like he’s hurt so deeply, that there’s good there — he just can’t get it all out,” she said.
Since the premiere of Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly” documentary earlier this month, Kelly has become something of a pariah in the music industry, with numerous artists speaking out in support of his alleged victims and distancing themselves from the 52-year-old singer. He may soon face legal consequences for his alleged actions, as well; authorities in Georgia have already launched an investigation into the claims made against Kelly, and Chicago prosecutors seem to be hot on their heels, having publicly called for any alleged victims to come forward.
Chicago police have not announced an investigation yet, but authorities performed a wellness check on two women at Kelly’s apartment last week, in response to a tip that Kelly was holding two women captive in his home. Police interviewed Kelly and the women, and found no evidence of any wrongdoing.
Kelly officially denied the many, many accusations of sexual, physical and verbal abuse levied against him in the Lifetime documentary via his lawyer, who said on Friday that Kelly never “knowingly had sex with an underage woman, he never forced anyone to do anything, he never held anyone captive, he never abused anyone.”
[Photo: Getty Images]
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