During an emotional interview on CBS This Morning, Lanita Carter revealed her identity as one of the four victims in R. Kelly's criminal indictment for 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. For the first time since the ongoing court case began, Carter, who had been referred to in court documents as L.C., detailed the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of Kelly, and the trauma she's endured since.
"I was sexually abused by him, and I live after that," Carter told interviewer Jericka Duncan. "I try to pick up the pieces every day. It’s hard but I know I’ll get through it. I’m not ashamed of my past any more."
The alleged abuse took place in 2003, when Carter, then 24-years-old, was summoned by Kelly to his home so she could braid his hair. After she had arrived and began working, Kelly asked for a head massage, to which she replied that she doesn't typically do that. Carter stated that Kelly then grabbed her braid and shoved her head towards his pelvis, demanding that she perform oral sex. When Carter refused to comply, the singer masturbated in her face while spitting on her. "He pulled my braid down by him, and he said, ‘Suck it for daddy, suck it for daddy.’ And I said, 'No.'"
Following the alleged abuse, Carter reported the incident to the police, who used her Tommy Hilfiger top which had Kelly's DNA on it, as evidence. Charges were not filed against Kelly despite the fact that his semen was discovered on her shirt. "Celebrities are powerful. Celebrities have support systems. I have no support system outside of my immediate family," Carter said.
Although Kelly denied that the incident occurred, Carter received two settlements from the singer, the first of which was $650,000 and contingent on her silence. The second deal was reached after the release of Kelly's song in which he details having sex with the woman who braids his hair. Carter received a $100,000 settlement and Kelly agreed to stop performing the song, which originally came out in 2009.
In the interview, Carter explains that she was Kelly's advocate prior to the alleged sexual abuse, which involved her coming forward to defend her client when the singer was arrested on child pornography charges in 2002. "Two words: perfect gentlemen," Carter stated. "I would tell people, 'Pray for him. Pray for him. I do his hair. He is nothing like what they say!'"
Following the release of the Lifetime documentary Surviving R. Kelly, Carter responded to the Cook County state attorney who was asking that sexual abuse victims of the singer come forward and tell their stories. "I would be going on with my day, you turn on the news, here's another R. Kelly victim, another R. Kelly victim, another R. Kelly victim. And you just – you just want to be there for them," Carter explained.
Following Kelly's interview with Gayle King, in which he aggressively denied the allegations against him, Carter felt more emboldened to share her experience. "It's actually the reason that I'm here," she said.