Days after the airing of a documentary series on years’ worth of sex abuse allegations against R. Kelly, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx on Tuesday said her office has been in contact with two Chicago-area families who believe their loved ones are being held against their will by the R&B superstar.
Foxx said she was “sickened” by the accounts described in the “Surviving R. Kelly” Lifetime series, but said she has not — and cannot — open a criminal probe in the absence of cooperating witnesses.
During a press conference at her Loop office, Foxx urged possible victims to “please come forward.
“Theres nothing that can be done to investigate these allegations without the cooperation of both victims and witnesses. We cannot seek justice without you,” she said. “We need actual witnesses and victims to have the courage to tell their stories.”
Foxx said her office has received “a number of calls from relatives of those who have had people in contact with Mr. Kelly over the course of the last couple of years.”
Foxx’s office has not been in contact with Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly.
‘No evidence of a crime’
However, late Tuesday, his Chicago attorney, Steve Greenberg, slammed Foxx over the press conference.
“I don’t think Kim Foxx should be giving any legitimacy to reality TV allegations,” he said. “The lead prosecutor should be silent until there’s evidence. … She essentially went up there and said, ‘We have no evidence of a crime, but if someone would like to make something up, please call us.'”
He continued: “No one here has reported a crime. There’s no evidence of anything. You can’t disprove something that didn’t happen.”
Greenberg said neither he nor the entertainer had seen the Lifetime series.
“I don’t watch that crap. He’s not going to watch it either.”
The state’s attorney’s office has been in touch with two Chicago-area families who have lost touch with relatives — both women over 18 — who have allegedly been coerced by Kelly into staying with him. He owns property in the Chicago and Atlanta areas.
Chicago police have conducted well-being checks at addresses related to the two families’ complaints, Foxx said, but no witnesses or possible victims have been found.
Not included in those two alleged cases was that of another family who contacted Foxx’s office in early 2018 with “allegations about incidents at R. Kelly’s home in Olympia Fields,” Foxx said. The alleged victim did not follow up with her office, Foxx said.
Foxx was an assistant state’s attorney when Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges in Cook County in 2008.
While campaigning for state’s attorney in 2016, Foxx revealed that she was sexually assaulted by a teenage family member over several years.
She said she watched the documentary and found it “deeply disturbing.”
“I was sickened by the allegations. I was sickened as a survivor. I’m sickened as a mother and I’m sickened as a prosecutor,” she said.
She urged possible victims to reach out to their local police department or the state’s attorney’s Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence Division at 773-674-6492.
Investigators contact Atlanta family
As Foxx pleaded for Chicago-area victims to come forward, the attorney for an Atlanta-area family who haven’t seen their daughter in more than two years said the documentary series spurred investigators with the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office to contact them.
The district attorney’s office in Fulton County, Georgia, contacted the family of Joycelyn Savage on Monday, family attorney Gerald Griggs said.
Savage’s family has said the woman has been held in what they describe as a “cult” in Kelly’s homes in the Atlanta and Chicago areas.
Joycelyn Savage has said she is not being held against her will in two recorded interviews with the celebrity gossip website TMZ. Family members think the videos were scripted and staged.
“Her family is encouraged by the investigation, but they will be happy once they get to see their daughter,” Griggs said.
The attorney said investigators have only requested contact information and had not scheduled any interviews with complainants as of Tuesday afternoon.
A spokesman for the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office said, “We do not have any comment at this time.”
“If the allegations are true, we believe [Kelly] should be charged with false imprisonment, kidnapping and possibly domestic abuse,” Griggs said. “We thank the public for putting pressure on the D.A. to do the right thing to at least open an investigation.”
TMZ reported on Tuesday that investigators have reached out to “several” other alleged victims profiled in the documentary series.