Lanita Carter, an R. Kelly accuser who was previously anonymous, has gone public with her claims of sexual abuse

By Helen Murphy
March 28, 2019 02:40 PM
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An R. Kelly accuser who was previously anonymous has gone public with her claims.

Lanita Carter, who says she was Kelly’s hairdresser for “about two years,” claimed that she was sexually abused by Kelly in 2003 in a new interview with CBS This Morning.

Kelly, 52, has been charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Chicago. Carter is identified as “L.C.” in the indictment against the R&B singer, according to CBS. (Kelly’s attorney, Steven Greenberg, has pleaded not guilty on Kelly’s behalf, according to the Associated Press.)

“This is a release,” Carter said in the interview, with tears running down her face. “I’ve been carryin’ 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.”

Carter was 24 years old at the time of the alleged assault. “If I could change that day – I wouldn’t have been there,” she said, before describing the alleged abuse.

According to Carter, Kelly attempted to physically force her to perform oral sex on him. When she resisted his attempts, she says Kelly then masturbated and spit in her face about “six times.”

Carter says that she then submitted her shirt with Kelly’s DNA on it to authorities after the alleged incident, but charges were not filed at the time, according to CBS. Per CBS, Greenberg responded to Carter’s allegations, saying, “These allegations were fully investigated by the police and prosecutors… and a decision was made, after evaluating all of the evidence, not to bring any charges.”

“Celebrities are powerful. Celebrities have support systems. I have no support system outside of my immediate family,” she said of why she never went public.

According to CBS, 10 months after the incident, she signed a $650K settlement where she agreed to keep quiet and Kelly denied any wrongdoing. In 2009, she signed another settlement, this time for $100K, after Kelly released a song about having sex with his hairdresser.

Carter said that she decided to come forward after watching Kelly’s emotionally charged interview with Gayle King, where he denied all of the allegations, and after seeing Illinois’ Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx put out a call for victims and new evidence against the Chicago native.

“When I finally realized I don’t want to be this victim, I don’t want to be a part of this, every time I tried to pick myself up again, I felt like something on the news brought me back to what I thought I swept under the rug,” Carter said. “Today — today I say no more.”

“You can talk about me. You can not like what I’m sayin’ about your favorite singer. But this is my life,” she continued. “This is my truth. This is what I have. If I die tomorrow, I know that I told the truth. I know that I want to be the best person I could be. I know that I want to help people.”

Kelly was most recently jailed following a child support hearing in Chicago. Days after his arrest, the singer was released on March 9 after a payment for the $161,000 in back child support he owed ex-wife Andrea Kelly was made anonymously on his behalf.

The singer was first released from jail on Feb. 25, after paying 10 percent of his $1 million bail.

Amid his legal trouble, Kelly also gave the emotionally charged interview with King, during which the singer grew increasingly upset as he denied the allegations made against him.

“Forget how you feel about me! Hate me if you want to, love me if you want, but use your common sense!” he told King during the CBS This Morning interview. “How stupid would it be for me with my crazy past and what I’ve been through to be like, ‘Oh right now, I think I need to be a monster and hold girls against their will, chain ’em up in my basement and don’t let ’em eat and don’t let ’em out?’”

CBS THIS MORNING
Gayle King and R. Kelly
| Credit: Lazarus Jean-Baptiste/CBS

“Stop it. Y’all, quit playing! I didn’t do this stuff,” he added while getting choked up. “This is not me! I’m fighting for my f—ing life!”

In February, Foxx revealed that the R&B star had been indicted by a grand jury on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against four alleged victims. All were referred to only by their initials, and three were specifically referred to as under the age of 17.

For the fourth alleged victim, whose age was not specified, the grand jury found one count of aggravated sexual abuse “based on the transmission of semen by Robert Kelly upon any part of the body of the [alleged] victim for the purpose of sexual gratification.”

The alleged incidents all occurred between May 1998 and January 2010.

Aggravated criminal sexual abuse is a Class 2 felony with a sentencing range of three to seven years per change, and is probationable.

Kelly, who has repeatedly denied all claims against him, was previously arrested in 2002 on child pornography charges. Six years later, a Cook County jury found Kelly not guilty on all 14 counts.

Kelly’s alleged behavior came to the media forefront again in July 2017, when BuzzFeed published a bombshell report accusing the star of running a “sex cult” out of his Chicago and Atlanta-area homes, and after the release of Surviving R. Kelly in January.

According to those reports, the star allegedly seduced a number of young women with the promise of helping them kickstart a music career, only to “groom” them into being his personal sex objects for whom he allegedly controlled every aspect of their lives.

If you suspect domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.