Child welfare investigators have reopened an investigation of the parents whose daughter is at the center of last week's sex-tape indictments against R. Kelly.
The Illinois Department of Children and Family Services said Monday (June 10) that it has renewed its probe into whether the teenage girl's parents allowed her to have sex with the singer (see "R. Kelly Arrested On 21 Counts Of Child Pornography"), thereby subjecting her to risk or harm.
"Our involvement is only tangentially to Robert Kelly," said DCFS Deputy Director John Goad. "Our interest is more seeing after the safety of the children, whether they suffered abuse or neglect at the hands of those responsible to their care."
DCFS had investigated the girl's parents twice prior to the indictments once in 2000 and again in 2001. Both investigations were prompted by calls to the department's hotline, but both stalled because they didn't have enough evidence. Goad couldn't comment on the information given in those calls, and he wouldn't say whether they were anonymous tips.
"If someone makes a report and there's reasonable cause, then we do conduct an investigation," he said. "But we had virtually no evidence."
And the second time the investigation was opened, the girl and her parents denied her involvement with the singer, Goad said. Now, with the indictments and the videotape itself, the investigation has been reactivated and given top priority.
Should the DCFS find that the parents allowed their daughter to have sexual relations with Kelly, they risk losing custody of the girl and any siblings she may have.
"There's no connection to what we would find and any criminal charges," Goad explained, "but we do see to the safety of the child. And if there is evidence of child abuse and neglect, we take custody of the child and then go to court. And we do consider all of the children in the family in the event that there are siblings."
The daughter, who Chicago police say was 14 at the time of the tape, is said to be 17 now.
For a feature interview with R. Kelly discussing the accusations against him, see "R. Kelly: In His Own Words."
For full coverage of the R. Kelly sex tape scandal, see The R. Kelly Reports.