DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The lawyer for a Texas woman has claimed that singer R. Kelly was grooming her for a sex cult when he knowingly infected her with a sexually transmitted disease. The Dallas Police Department confirmed on Monday that detectives are now reviewing the claims, which were made in a police report last week.
Lee Merritt is the woman’s attorney. He said that his client was 19 years old when she met Kelly at his concert last March. The two began a nearly year-long relationship, Merritt added, which included consensual, unprotected sex. His client claimed that Kelly never told her that she was being exposed to disease.
“We believe Mr. Kelly was aware he was infected with herpes when he passed it along to my client,” said Merritt.
Over the last two decades, Kelly has been accused in multiple cases of statutory rape and child pornography, but he has never been convicted of those crimes. Merritt said that the alleged victim, who has not been identified, turned to authorities hoping to stop Kelly from recruiting more women into his “sex cult.”
Merritt claims that the singer exercised control over his client, plying her with alcohol and drugs, locking her in a room or car, subjecting her to constant criticism, and setting rules about how to behave. “How to greet him when he came into a room, how to manage her social media, turning over her contacts, limiting contacts to the outside world,” Merritt described.
The attorney added that his client crossed paths with other members of the alleged sex cult, but could not estimate how many women were involved. “She was introduced directly to one person who was to groom her and was specifically assigned to show her how to be with Kelly,” he said.
That person, Merritt stated, was Jocelyn Savage, a woman who has publicly denied allegations made by her parents that Kelly is holding her against her will. “I’m totally fine,” Savage said in a TMZ video last year. “I’m happy where I’m at and everything is okay with me.”
“We believe many women in his keep are undergoing some form of Stockholm syndrome,” said Merritt. “In one sense, they’re being held and tortured essentially — mentally. On the other hand, they hope to please Mr. Kelly.”
This past February, Merritt said, Kelly told the now 20-year-old woman that she had to sign a contract. “He began to describe it as some sort of nondisclosure contract,” Merritt explained, “and that she would have to provide collateral information about herself or her family — damaging information that could be used against her if she were to violate the contract.”
Merritt stated that his client responded by ending the relationship with Kelly and making the decision to go to the police. “She feels the cost of being silent and allowing him to continue this behavior — as he has done for decades — was too high to remain silent,” he said.
According to a report in The Washington Post, a representative for Kelly said that the singer is denying all of the allegations.
Meanwhile, Merritt said that he plans to file a civil case against Kelly in federal court.