R. Kelly accused of holding young women against their will in ‘cult’; journalist speaks to WGN

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CHICAGO -- A new column on BuzzFeed says that R. Kelly is running an abusive "cult."

Former Sun-Times Music Critic and Chicago-based journalistJim DeRogatis reports that three people who were close to R. Kelly say six women live in properties rented by R. Kelly in Chicago and the suburbs of Atlanta. DeRogatis says he was contacted by two sets of parents who claim their daughters, ages 18 and 21, were being held against their will.

The parents reportedly told Derogatis that R. Kelly controls every part of the women's lives. If the women break his rules, they are punished physically and verbally.

"He tells them when to eat, when to sleep, how to dress, how to pleasure him in encounters that he records, takes their cell phones, cuts off contact with their friends and family. It's a disturbing story," he told WGN in a phone interview Monday.

DeRogatis said he worked the story for nine months, and stands by every syllable. You can watch the full interview in the player above.

WGN has reached out to R. Kelly's media contact for comment, and we are waiting to hear back from him.

The Cook County Sheriff's Department tells WGN there is no investigation into these allegations. The department released a sheriff's report connected to a well-being check that officers conducted at a property owned by R. Kelly in Chicago in January. Click here to see the full report.

According to the report, police visited a woman at the property because her parents believed she was being held there against her will. She told the officers she was fine and that she didn't want to be bothered. Police said the woman appeared to be in good health with no visible injuries or markings.

Linda Mensch, a civil lawyer in Chicago who represents the R. Kelly, responded to DeRogatis via email regarding the accusations outlined in this story:

"We can only wonder why folks would persist in defaming a great artist who loves his fans, works 24/7, and takes care of all of the people in his life...He works hard to become the best person and artist he can be. It is interesting that stories and tales debunked many years ago turn up when his goal is to stop the violence; put down the guns; and embrace peace and love. I suppose that is the price of fame. Like all of us, Mr. Kelly deserves a personal life. Please respect that."

This is a developing story. Check back for details.
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