September 27, 2022
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Joliet woman sues second alleged R. Kelly victim, Lifetime network

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R. Kelly fan club manager Darlene April filed a lawsuit against another alleged victim of the R&B singer and a lawsuit against the TV network that aired the six-part documentary “Surviving R. Kelly.”

April went to the Will County Courthouse on Friday with fellow fan club member Christopher Gunn, 36, to file the lawsuits against alleged Kelly victim Lanita Carter and Lifetime, the network that aired the documentary on the sex abuse allegations against the musician.

April said she plans on filing a class-action lawsuit on behalf of DJs, venues and fans she claimed can no longer play Kelly’s music without facing harassment or bullying.

“He’s innocent until proven guilty,” April said of Kelly.

The 52-year-old singer faces federal charges alleging he sexually abused numerous girls.

April said Kelly fans who defend him from the sex abuse allegations have been called the “Peehive” by their detractors. She said it is a reference to the 2002 child pornography case where Kelly was charged with videotaping himself having sex with and urinating on a teenage girl. He was acquitted of the charge.

April filed a lawsuit against another alleged Kelly victim, Jerhonda Pace, on Oct. 8. That lawsuit said Pace "fraudulently claimed that she was sexually assaulted" by Kelly and that it cost April's fan club more than $1 million in revenue from canceled concerts and ticket sales.

April’s lawsuit against Carter claims she also “fraudulently claimed” she was sexually assaulted by Kelly. The lawsuit claimed April’s fan club lost “over $1 million” from canceled concert dates and ticket sales due to Carter’s allegations.

Carter said Kelly forced her to perform a sexual act on him in 2003.

April’s lawsuit against Lifetime claimed the network “willfully” televised “Surviving R. Kelly,” which allegedly contained “false statements by individuals alleging that several women were underage at the time” and were held captive and forced to engage in sexual acts with Kelly.

“It was painting a picture of a one-sided story without fact checking,” Gunn said of the documentary.

According to the lawsuit, if the “unverified documentary” did not air “there would would not have been any action litigated” against Kelly.

April’s lawsuit contends Lifetime, its owner, A&E Networks, and participants in “Surviving R. Kelly” “maliciously conspired to publicly defame the name and character” of April and all entities connected with Kelly.

The lawsuit also contends the documentary was not based “on police reports” or results from a polygraph test to “confirm if any of the allegations were true.”

Felix Sarver

Felix Sarver

Felix Sarver covers crime and courts for The Herald-News