NOTE: This article contains graphic, sexual language that some readers may find offensive and disturbing. Please read at your own discretion.
A woman is publicly accusing R&B singer R. Kelly of sexually abusing her in 2003 while she worked as his hairdresser.
Lanita Carter says in an interview aired Thursday on CBS This Morning that on Feb. 18, 2003, Kelly tried to force her to perform oral sex on him and spit on her.
CBS says Carter is the woman identified as “L.C.” in the February indictments against Kelly. He’s charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse for allegedly assaulting three girls and one woman in cases dating back decades.
Carter sat down with Jericka Duncan to explain why she wanted to reveal her identity after being anonymous.
“This is a release,” she said. “I’ve been carrying this since 2003. I have had to sit on a public bus and watch public conversation: ‘Did you hear about what they did with R. Kelly? They need to leave that man alone.’ And I can’t stand up for myself.”
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“It’s not easy. It’s not easy if it wasn’t a celebrity. It makes it 10 times worse.”
She also described her alleged assault.
“February 18, 2003. I got a phone call to come down and do his hair,” she said, saying R. Kelly forced her to perform oral sex. “When he came to the room and he asked me for a head massage, I told him I didn’t do massages. I laughed it off, and I didn’t know he was for real.”
Carter said she did not consent to the sexual encounter.
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“And I get to the bathroom, and I grabbed a wall, and it was a rose-coloured towel… I wiped my face… I’m not dressed no type of way. I look at myself in the mirror — like, I’m not a beauty queen. I didn’t perceive myself to be nothing more than just his hair braider.”
She said she called the police “the day” the alleged assault happened but claims Chicago investigators declined to press any charges at the time.
“They asked for my clothing and I gave them my favourite Tommy Hilfiger shirt. And that’s what I found DNA evidence…semen.”
Ten months after the alleged incident, Carter says she signed a $650,000 settlement agreeing not to go public with the details of the incident.
In 2009, R. Kelly released a song about having sex with a woman who braids his hair.
“Zig-zag braids, got em looking like spaghettay,” the lyrics said.
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“That was one of the hair styles that I was known for doing, that I never did on him,” Carter said. “We were on the L-shaped couch when the incident happened.”
The song led to another confidential settlement for Carter in which she received $100,000.
Kelly denied any wrongful conduct but he agreed to never perform the song or include it on an album.
Carter says she was 24 at the time. Her allegations generally match those in the grand jury indictments and outlined by the Cook County state’s attorney.
“I finally realized, I don’t want to be this victim. I don’t want to be a part of this,” she said.
Kelly’s lawyer, meanwhile, has strongly denied the allegations.
If you or someone you know is experiencing abuse or is involved in an abusive situation, please visit the Canadian Resource Centre for Victims of Crime for help. They are also reachable toll-free at 1-877-232-2610.
— With files from the Associated Press