R. Kelly accuser Lanita Carter speaks publicly for first time: "Today I say: no more"
Lanita Carter, who — until now — was an anonymous accuser in the R. Kelly criminal sexual abuse case, is speaking publicly for the first time about an alleged assault by the R&B singer.
"This is a release," Carter told CBS News correspondent Jericka Duncan with tears streaming 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."
Kelly was arrested in February after Chicago prosecutors charged him with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Prosecutors say three of the four alleged victims were underage when the suspected crimes happened. Carter was 24 years old.
"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… 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. If it's anybody that want to speak [their] truth, it's hard when it's a celebrity. It's not easy. It's not easy if it wasn't a celebrity. It makes it 10 times worse."
Carter was Kelly's hairdresser at the time. She claimed Kelly tried to force her to perform oral sex on him, but she resisted. She said Kelly then masturbated and spit in her face. Carter submitted her shirt to the authorities for DNA testing, and the semen sample on the shirt was a match to Kelly's DNA profile, Cook County prosecutors said.
In an explosive interview with "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King in March, Kelly denied all accusations and said he had "absolutely not" broken any laws. At one point in the interview, Kelly broke down, saying, "I didn't do this stuff. This is not me! I'm fighting for my f***ing life! Y'all killing me with this sh*t!"
For more than a decade, Kelly faced scrutiny for his purported sexual relationships with minors. He was acquitted on 14 counts of child pornography in 2008 when Chicago prosecutors failed to convince a jury that he was the man seen in a sex tape with with a 14-year-old girl. Allegations against Kelly came back to light in January after a six-part Lifetime docuseries, "Surviving R. Kelly," featured interviews with accusers and people from his inner circle.
Watch Duncan's extended interview with Carter Thursday, March 28, on "CBS This Morning," which airs 7 a.m. to 9 a.m ET/PT.
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