• 'Let these girls go': Alleged victim's family begs R. Kelly to stop reported abuse against women

    By: Zachary Hansen, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

    Updated:

    ATLANTA - One of the families accusing R&B singer R. Kelly of holding their daughter captive and emotionally, physically and sexually abusing her at his former home in Johns Creek, Georgia, begged the entertainer to let the young woman go Wednesday.

    Tim and JonJelyn Savage, the parents of Joycelyn Savage, told WSB they haven’t seen their daughter in more than two years, and the couple blame the singer, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, for keeping her secluded. 

    “Mr. Kelly, if you’re listening, you need to turn yourself in, let these girls go, so they can come home to see their families,” Tim Savage said.

    >> Read more trending news 

    The Fulton County District Attorney’s Office reached out to the Savages and other alleged victims after the Lifetime “Surviving R. Kelly” docuseries aired last week, the family’s lawyer, Gerald Griggs, told WSB

    TMZ reported Tuesday that the DA’s office opened an investigation into the abuse allegedly committed by Kelly in the six-part TV show, but DA spokesman Chris Hopper told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution the office had no comment. On Wednesday, he reaffirmed that the office had no further statement at this time.

    “We have provided them with names and phone numbers of witnesses that we know have information about what happened at the Johns Creek home,” Griggs told WSB. “When somebody says they're held against their will and somebody else sees domestic assault or domestic battery and people being held against their will, I can see at least three crimes under the official code of Georgia.”

    Kelly, 52, has denied all allegations made in the docuseries, which his lawyer Steve Greenberg called “ridiculous.” The AJC has reached out to Greenberg for further comment. 

    “Ten and a half years after he was found innocent (at trial of child pornography charges) and to fill reality TV time — someone comes up with another round of stories,” he told The Associated Press. “No one has found any sex slaves or underage girls because there aren’t any.”

    The Savages were featured in the TV show, and other accusers include Kelly’s ex-girlfriends Asante McGee and Kitti Jones, an anonymous former employee and alleged victim’s parents, Michelle Kramer and Alice and Angelo Clary. TMZ reported that McGee has been contacted by investigators in the wake of the docuseries in addition to the Savages.

    “We are here to seek justice,” Tim Savage told WSB. “We are here to make sure we can bring our daughter home and get her the help that she needs.”

    Many of the allegations against Kelly involve mansions he owned in Johns Creek and Chicago, where he was born. The two homes were featured in the final episodes of the docuseries, and the young women’s families said the singer “brainwashed” them while they lived with him.

    Kelly allegedly “held women against their will in a cult” at two houses, and he allegedly forbade them from contacting their families, making them ask for permission to go anywhere or communicate with anyone, according to a July 2017 story by BuzzFeed News. They also allegedly were required to call him “Daddy,” and he’s accused of filming his sexual encounters with the women.

    The docuseries quickly gained national attention and sparked backlash against Kelly, including boycotts against his music, which includes hits such as “I Believe I Can Fly,” “Bump N’ Grind” and “Ignition.”

    The largest boycott has been #MuteRKelly, a national grassroots movement launched in 2017 to pressure radio stations and concert venues to stop playing his music or booking performances. Two radio stations in Dallas have already stopped playing Kelly’s music, according to Rolling Stone, and a vigil for the alleged victims was scheduled in Chicago for Wednesday evening, Chicago-based news station WLS-TV reported.

    “This project exceeded my expectations, but it always gave me hope that the truth will be out,” JonJelyn Savage told WSB.

    On Tuesday, Johns Creek police spokesman Capt. Chris Byers told The AJC, “We have no active investigation on R. Kelly.” He told WSB on Wednesday that no new criminal evidence had been unearthed in the docuseries. 

    Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx held a news conference Tuesday in Chicago and urged victims to come forward while also confirming that her office hasn’t launched a formal investigation into the allegations against Kelly.

    “We rely heavily on victim accounts and witness statements to prosecute cases involving sexual assault and domestic violence,” she said. “Please come forward.”

    On Wednesday, State’s Attorney Office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton told The AJC the office “has received calls related to this matter” and they “are in the process of reviewing and following up on these calls.” She had no further comment.

    Tim Savage said his family has received multiple threats, including alleged messages from Kelly’s managers. The AP reported that manager Don Russell texted Savage to say it would be best for him and his family if the docuseries didn’t air, according to a Henry County police report.

    Kelly’s manager emailed WSB Wednesday to say his legal team had no comment on the Savages’ allegations.

    A former manager of Kelly’s, James Mason, also had an arrest warrant issued against him for terroristic threats allegedly made toward Tim Savage in Henry County, The AJC previously reported in August 2018. He reportedly told Savage, “I’m gonna do harm to you and your family, when I see you I’m gonna get you, I’m going to (expletive) kill you,” according to a police incident report.

    Related: R. Kelly’s manager wanted in Georgia for alleged death threat, reports say

    This isn’t the first investigation into Kelly’s conduct with young women or minors.

    In 2002, a sex tape emerged that allegedly captured the musician urinating on an underage girl, which prompted child pornography charges to be filed against him. He was acquitted in 2008.

    In April 2017, a lawsuit was filed against Kelly in Illinois for having an affair with the wife of a police officer. Several other civil lawsuits have been filed against the singer that were settled out of court with cash payments, according to BuzzFeed News

    Next Up: