Sheriff Judd responds to allegations against R. Kelly involving Polk Co. woman

Musical artist R. Kelly performs the national anthem before an NBA basketball game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Atlanta Hawks Tuesday, Nov. 17, 2015, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

POLK COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Singer R. Kelly is once again making headlines in Polk County.

According to a bombshell Buzzfeed investigation, a Polk County woman is among several women being held in an abusive cult-like relationship with Kelly.

In the article, the woman’s parents claim their daughter was just 17 when she met the singer and got his phone number at a concert in Orlando. They told Buzzfeed the singer didn’t respond to initial calls they made with their daughter, but say he must have gotten in touch with her at some point.

“One day we were looking for her because she should’ve been coming home from school,” the mother told Buzzfeed. “Then finally we get a text message saying that she’s OK, that she had met up with R. Kelly in his hotel.”

News Channel 8 spoke with Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd about the allegations on Tuesday. He says he has not heard about the most recent allegations, but tells us his office will investigate every allegation of wrongdoing in Polk County.

“If the parents come forward and they allege there’s a violation in this county, we’ll certainly investigate it,” he said. “If we find there’s probable cause, we’ll be more than happy to arrest R. Kelly or anyone else who’s violating the law.”

According to the Buzzfeed article, the girl’s parents say their daughter didn’t move in with Kelly until she reached the age of legal consent.

“If she was wise enough or he was wise enough to not allow her to move in until she was 18, and there was no inappropriate conduct prior to that, then he wised up from apparently other allegations against him,” Judd said. “And at that point in time, if she’s 18 or older and there because she wants to be, that’s her business.”

The parents also claim they can’t get in contact with their daughter anymore, telling Buzzfeed they haven’t heard from her in more than a year despite sending her texts and leaving voicemail messages.

Sheriff Judd says that could be significant, but says there could be more to the story.

“She may not be getting along with her parents. She may be there voluntarily and she may not want anything to do with them. We see that over and over,” he said.

Kelly’s attorney released a statement to WFLA’s NBC affiliate in Chicago saying Kelly is “both alarmed and disturbed” by the allegations made against him.

Kelly has history in Polk County. Back in 2003, the singer was arrested at his rental home in Davenport on child porn charges, but was never convicted. Judd says that was the last they heard of him.

“But if he comes back here and violates the law, we’ve still got his bed at the county jail. He can have it again,” he said.


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