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A woman has filed a lawsuit in New York against R. Kelly, claiming the singer sexually assaulted her, locked her in rooms for punishment and infected her with herpes.
Faith Rodgers says in the suit filed Monday that she met Kelly after a concert in March of last year in San Antonio, Texas. The 20-year-old says that during their relationship Kelly “mentally, sexually and verbally” abused her.
Rodgers says a few months after meeting Kelly, he flew her out to New York, where he “initiated unwanted sexual contact” in her hotel room, according to the filing. She claims he assaulted her orally and vaginally.
She continued to have contact with Kelly in an abusive “relationship” for about a year, during which time the suit says he knowingly infected her with herpes and “routinely engaged in intimidation, mental, verbal and sexual abuse, during and after sexual contact.”
This was “behaviour designed to humiliate, embarrass, intimate and shame her,” according to the lawsuit. It also alleges Kelly would often record Rodgers during sex without her consent and keep her locked in secluded areas to punish and control her.
Rodgers told CBS News that she believes the now 51-year-old singer “pursues teenage/underage” girls and “lures” them into engaging in sex acts.
She also told the news organization that she believes Kelly was priming her to join a group of women she says he lives with and travels with.
“He goes on to tell me that he raises five women. Some of them had been with him for 15 years,” she said. “And he basically was trying to make it seem like it was a family thing. He described these women as being his family. Then he goes on to tell me, ‘You know what? I love you because you remind me of them.'”
The management team of Kelly has declined comment on the lawsuit filed by Rodgers accusing the singer of sexual battery, knowingly infecting her with herpes and locking her in rooms for punishment.
Rodgers’ interview with CBS This Morning comes weeks after the Women Of Colour coalition of the Time’s Up organization announced support for the Mute R. Kelly movement, which urges his record label and corporate sponsors to cut ties with the R&B singer over the accusations of sexual misconduct against him.
In a statement to the Associated Press, Kelly says the accusations, “perpetuated by the media,” are an “attempt to distort my character and to destroy my legacy that I have worked so hard to build.”
Much of Kelly’s career has been shadowed by his behaviour out of the studio. He’s faced numerous sexual assault allegations, starting in 1994 with his most famous indiscretion, when he married the underage singer Aaliyah. (At the time, she was 15 years old and he was 27. The marriage was annulled shortly afterward.)
He has long been the target of sexual misconduct allegations, which he has denied. In 2008, Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges after a video circulated allegedly showing him having sexual intercourse and urinating on a 14-year-old girl.
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Additionally, he’s agreed to several out-of-court settlements with women who’ve accused him of sexual assault, one even as young as 15.
He is one of the most successful R&B artists of the last two decades, with three Grammy awards, 12 studio albums and nearly 60 million albums sold worldwide. R. Kelly is one of pop music’s bestselling artists, with hits including Ignition, I Believe I Can Fly, and Bump N’ Grind.
Spotify recently removed the R&B singer’s music from its playlists, citing its new policy on hate content and hateful conduct.
—With files from the Associated Press
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