A Georgia official announced his intention to press for an official investigation into troubling allegations against R. Kelly on Friday.
The R&B singer stands accused by parents of holding their young adult daughters in an abusive “cult” run out of homes he maintains across the country, including Atlanta, according to a BuzzFeed report published last month. Kelly has denied the allegations through a representative.
Now, John Eaves, chairman of the Fulton County Board of Commissioners, is calling on the county’s district attorney to launch a criminal investigation into the matter, local outlets reported. (Fulton County contains much of the city of Atlanta.) Eaves, who is also running for mayor of Atlanta, claims in a statement that local police have discovered “key information” that is enough to support an investigation.
Eaves’ statement continues, per a local Fox affiliate:
No one should be above the law, because of their income or their zip code. And we will not allow our young girls and young women to be preyed upon by predators or anyone who aims to brainwash and strip them of their human dignity and their right to be free.
Again, as a father of a teenager daughter and a responsible leader in this community, we have a moral responsibility to stand up for people who cannot protect themselves. Today, I am asking our Fulton County justice officials to do just that. If we won’t protect our young girls and young women, who will?
TMZ claims, however, that its calls for information from the police department turned up no new evidence against the singer.
According to sources contacted by BuzzFeed, Kelly offers to mentor young female musicians before beginning sexual relationships with them and preventing them from seeing their families. The women are all above the age of consent, the outlet reports. Punishments for disobeying Kelly are reportedly physical and verbal.
“You have to ask for food. You have to ask to go use the bathroom. … [Kelly] is a master at mind control. … He is a puppet master,” Cheryl Mack told BuzzFeed.
One of the women, whose family claims she is being held against her will, later spoke to TMZ by video chat to say she was “in a happy place with my life and I’m not being brainwashed or anything like that.”
Several of Kelly’s tour dates have been canceled following the bombshell report, and the Fulton County Board of Commissioners has already requested that Live Nation cancel one show scheduled Aug. 25 in the area. Activists have also pressured local radio stations to stop playing Kelly’s music.
Representatives for Kelly, Eaves and the Johns Creek Police Department did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.