Lifetime’s “Surviving R. Kelly: The Reckoning” focuses on the disturbing allegations of underage sexual abuse facing the R&B singer, but the series also calls out others who may have played a role in keeping the abuse a secret for years.
R. Kelly is facing a series of charges connected to the alleged sexual abuse of numerous women across multiple jurisdictions but has continued to maintain his innocence and has denied all claims of sexual assault or misconduct with minors.
One of the people who comes under fire in the series, which premiered earlier this month, is the prominent attorney Susan E. Loggans, who author Jim DeRogatis described as being a “settlement factory” for underage girls who had been abused by the singer—allegedly earning the girls monetary settlements in exchange for their silence.
DeRogatis has spent nearly two decades investigating claims of sexual abuse against the singer, spoken to dozens of alleged victims and talked with Loggans herself and her former employee Ian Alexander as part of his continuing probe into the allegations.
“Loggins began what I call a sort of settlement factory,” he said in the series. “Girls would come to her with charges of underage sexual contact with Kelly, she would send them to a private detective agency in suburban Hinsdale to make them take a lie detector test, a settlement would be struck, a non-disclosure agreement would be signed, and the girl promised to never speak about it.”
Alexander said in the series he felt the non-disclosure agreements included in the settlements “victimizes women” and helped keep the abuse hidden.
After talking with Alexander and others, DeRogatis believes Loggans may have represented more than a dozen of Kelly’s victims but said he can’t be sure because there were not court papers from the cases.
“Loggans has never given me the number,” he said in the series of his past conversations with her. “She has only said ‘numerous,’ with a little bit of a smirk.”
Oxygen.com reached out to Loggans’ law office to get the Chicago-based attorney’s response to the comments made in the series, but has not received a response.
Beth Karas, a former prosecutor and Oxygen legal analyst, told Oxygen.com it’s not uncommon for non-disclosure agreements to be included in settlement agreements.
“I think it’s fair to say it has been a very common tool and it is a way to get some measure of justice for the women who have been harassed because they are at least getting some money, without having a public trial,” Karas said, adding that sometimes in cases of sexual harassment or sexual assault, victims do not want to go through a public trial.
While in the ‘90s, non-disclosure agreements were readily used in civil cases, Karas said the recent #MeToo movement and scandals involving Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby and Matt Lauer have caused some to re-think their use in cases where criminal acts may be involved.
“When the conduct is even more severe and it is criminal, the idea that NDAs allow a criminal sexual predator to continue the conduct by just paying millions of dollars…that’s where I’ve got a problem,” she said.
Women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred, who represents some alleged R. Kelly victims, also told Oxygen.com that although she doesn’t know Loggans personally she felt the accusations made in the docu-series were not fair.
“I don’t know her, but I think it’s very unfair, because it fails to make the point that those women could still go to the police,” she said.
Tiffany Hawkins, the first of Kelly’s victims to file a lawsuit against the singer, said in “Surviving R. Kelly” that she went to Loggans’ office in 1996.
Loggans initially didn’t want the case, according to a 2019 article in The New Yorker by DeRogatis. But Ian Alexander, an attorney who worked at the firm as part of first job out of law school, convinced her to let him take the case.
Hawkins—who said she began having sex with Kelly when she was just 15 after meeting him outside the prestigious Chicago high school Kenwood Academy—believed she had a strong case against the singer.
“My witness list consisted of Aaliyah [Haughton], Jovante [Cunningham] and several other women, people in Robert’s camp, definitely enough for me to be taken seriously, but I wasn’t,” she said in “Surviving R. Kelly: The Reckoning.”
Kelly has denied sexually abusing any minors.
Hawkins had initially wanted to file criminal charges against the singer and Alexander reached out to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office, but the state declined to file charges against Kelly.
“[I] knew had to take action when the state didn’t do anything. We had to file a lawsuit against him and the people he worked for,” Alexander, who continues to represent Hawkins, recalled in the docu-series.
On Hawkins’ behalf, he filed a civil suit against Kelly, Jive records, Zomba Records and Background records. He also sued Kelly for assault and battery and negligence.
“We knew our only avenue of redress was a civil lawsuit seeking money damages,” he said, later adding that although it was an “imperfect system” it was the only one available.
But Alexander alleges he was pressured by Loggans to settle the case.
Hawkins eventually agreed to a $250,000 settlement, but also had to sign a non-disclosure agreement as part of the deal, according to the series.
Hawkins, who had dreamed of one day becoming a singer and had initially been encouraged by Kelly, got two-thirds of the settlement after paying her legal fees and other expenses.
Alexander said he was disappointed by the result.
“I left Susan Loggans’ office because I always want to do my best and I really feel like I was denied the opportunity to do my best for Tiffany Hawkins in this case,” Alexander said in the series. “Paying money for silence victimizes women. Susan as far as I know has brokered settlements for silence for victims of R. Kelly’s abuse.”
According to the New Yorker, Loggans later told DeRogatis she never met Hawkins and had thought Alexander was a “schmuck” while in her employment.
It’s not known how many of Kelly’s alleged victims Loggans would go on to represent; however, she did continue her thriving law practice.
In 2007, she represented Dennis and Kimberly Quaid in a lawsuit after their newborn twins were allegedly given an overdose of 1,000 times the recommended dose of the blood-thinner Heparin at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, People reported at the time.
Loggans also filed a lawsuit against former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and his then-wife Maria Shriver on her own behalf in 2004 after she claimed the action star had sold her an $8 million home with moldy walls, damaged tennis court and a damaged pool, according to The Telegraph.
Loggans had bought the home along with her professional golfer husband, Denis Watson.
Loggans discussed her own love of golf and her relationship with Watson in a 2008 profile in The South Florida Sun Sentinel.
"I like to gamble when we play," she said of their competitive style on the green. "He has to give me shots, and he wants to give me more than I'll accept. He's also always telling me to lay up, but I never lay up."
Loggans, who holds a PhD in psychology, continues to practice today at her firm based in Chicago.
“As a leading Chicago malpractice attorney, Dr. (PhD) Loggans has represented hundreds of children with cerebral palsy in medical malpractice cases,” her website said. “She has recovered millions of dollars to provide these children with needed care, equipment, educational computers and the means to sustain life.”
She’s also appeared on NBC’s “Today Show,” “CBS Morning News,” Fox News and “Oprah” to offer her legal advice and ran a nationally syndicated radio talk show for several years.
It’s not known how she feels about the latest in exposure in “Surviving R. Kelly: The Reckoning.”
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