A fourth woman has come forward to file a civil suit against R&B crooner R. Kelly, and unlike the other suits, it alleges invasion of privacy instead of statutory rape.
Plaintiff Montina "Tina" Woods a dancer who's toured with Kelly collaborators the Isley Brothers claims that she is one of the women making a star turn on one of the alleged Kelly sex tapes.
Woods, 33, filed a suit last Friday (May 24) in the Cook County Circuit Court in Chicago accusing Kelly of setting up a hidden camera and secretly taping their sexual encounter. She's seeking $50,000 in damages.
The encounter, which Woods said took place at his recording studio, Chicago Trax, is among others that have been copied onto a single tape and sold under the title "R. Kelly Triple-X" on the streets of major cities such as New York, Chicago, Atlanta and Detroit, as well as on the Internet (see "Alleged R. Kelly Sex Tape Shows Up Online"). Woods also accuses Kelly of negligence in that he failed to keep the tape from being copied and distributed.
"[Woods] had a right to privacy to prevent her personal image from being recorded for the purpose of [Kelly's] personal gratification and possible dissemination to the public," the suit reads. "R. Kelly should have known that this was likely to cause severe emotional harm and economic harm to [Woods] ... R. Kelly knew or had to have known such distribution would cause irreparable harm to further employment opportunities by the negligent release of an unauthorized videotape of [Woods]," since she was also in the entertainment industry. Adding to Woods' emotional distress claim, the suit says she's been in isolation "to avoid recognition and embarrassment."
The basis of the three previous lawsuits filed against Kelly involved accusations that he took advantage of minors and engaged in criminal sexual conduct. Two of those lawsuits were settled out of court, while a third is still pending (see "R. Kelly Sued By Woman Claiming Singer Impregnated Her When She Was 17"). Woods' suit references those lawsuits, as she accuses the singer of being derelict for not seeking mental health treatment for deviant sexual behavior and inappropriate conduct, "which constitutes a pattern," the suit reads.
"R. Kelly has been aware of his acts for over 10 years that constitute violations of criminal statutes and flagrantly displays disregard of the law by way of his negligence from causing further harm to females," the suit claims. Also derelict, Woods alleges, are Kelly's record label, Jive, and the recording studio for knowing about Kelly's "course of conduct" and failing to do anything about it. Both businesses are named in the suit.
Woods' lawyer, Donna Makowski, said Woods made no attempt to settle this suit and has not filed criminal charges, "yet."
In response, Kelly's camp says that this latest suit is "ridiculous" and "nonsensical," and that Kelly plans to defend himself against the charges.
"This one falls under the category of people just piling on," Kelly spokesperson Allan Mayer said. "[Woods] herself says it was consensual. She's a grown woman, not a kid. We're confident that the court will toss this one into the trash, where it belongs."
For a feature interview with R. Kelly discussing accusations of sexual impropriety, see"R. Kelly: In His Own Words."
For full coverage of the R. Kelly sex tape scandal, see The R. Kelly Reports.