An Illinois State Attorney has appealed to alleged sex victims of R. Kelly to "come forward" and help her build a criminal case against the R&B veteran.
The Ignition (Remix) hitmaker has found himself under renewed scrutiny ever since the Surviving R. Kelly documentary series began airing on America's Lifetime network last week (ends04Jan19).
The six-part show delved into longstanding accusations made against the singer, including claims about engaging in sex with underage girls and brainwashing women into joining his purported sex cult, with his Georgia home and studio in Chicago, Illinois reported to be locations used for the rumoured exploits.
Kelly, who was acquitted of child porn charges in 2008, has always vehemently denied the allegations, and has even threatened to sue everyone involved in the show, but now authorities are starting to look more closely into the statements made by the females interviewed for Surviving R. Kelly.
Hours after it was reported that officials in Georgia had opened a formal investigation into the sexual misconduct scandal, Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx held a press conference in Illinois on Tuesday (08Jan19) - the day the musician turned 52 - seeking information from potential victims.
Citing the "deeply disturbing" accusations made in the documentary and the influx of calls her office had received following its broadcast, Foxx explained she and her team of prosecutors had begun "the process of trying to get information," and had been in touch with local police and concerned parents and relatives whose girls had reportedly been involved with Kelly over the years.
"I am here today to encourage victims of sexual assault or domestic violence related to these allegations to please get in touch with our office. Please come forward," Foxx said.
Highlighting the need for solid testimony to hold Kelly accountable in the eyes of the law, Foxx continued, "We cannot do anything related to these allegations without the cooperation of these victims."
As a sexual assault survivor herself, she acknowledged how "incredibly daunting" it can be for those affected to publicly address such incidents, but insisted, "This isn't one of those situations where it's just forensics. We need actual witnesses and victims to have the courage to tell their stories."
The State Attorney added of the various sex crime accusations, "I was sickened by the allegations. I was sickened as a survivor, I was sickened as a mother, I was sickened as a prosecutor."
However, Kelly's Illinois attorney, Steve Greenberg, has slammed Foxx for issuing the public plea for help, maintaining his client has done nothing illegal.
"The idea that a prosecutor would solicit potential victims like a late-night personal injury attorney is offensive," he ranted to The Chicago Tribune. "People know if they are a victim of a crime to contact the police... Nobody has come forward and said they were the victim of any misconduct by Mr. Kelly because nobody has been."