Dominique Gardner fled R. Kelly but doesn’t want him imprisoned

A woman whose account of leaving R. Kelly was featured prominently in the “Surviving R. Kelly” docuseries is speaking out for the first time.

Dominique Gardner told writer Jim DeRogatis she has been hurt by the criticism that she should have spoken up against Kelly or gone to the authorities in the wake of the Lifetime docuseries.

“I just want to heal,” Gardner told DeRogatis for an article that appeared in the New Yorker. “I just want my privacy.”

“Surviving R. Kelly” chronicled decades of allegations of sexual misconduct and abuse lodged against the singer because of his relationships with young girls and women.

Gardner appeared in the documentary, but did not speak with the filmmakers on camera and was not one of the women making allegations.

DeRogatis is one of the first journalists who reported on the allegations against Kelly.

He and Abdon M. Pallasch published their first report in the Chicago Sun-Times on allegations of Kelly having sexual relationships with girls as young as 15 in 2000.

According to “Surviving R. Kelly,” Gardner first met the singer in 2009 when she was 17.

Gardner had established a friendship with fellow “superfan” Jerhonda Pace, who put her in touch with Kelly.

Pace appeared in the docuseries, accusing Kelly of having an inappropriate relationship with her when she was a teen and abusing her.

Kelly has consistently denied any allegations of wrongdoing and abuse.

The singer was indicted last month on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse — a class 2 felony — involving four alleged victims.

The indictment accuses Kelly of sexual acts with three children older than 13 but younger than 17. There is no age range listed for one of the alleged victims, but the prosecutor has said she was 24 at the time of the alleged misconduct. The charges say Kelly used force or the threat of force against her.

He was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008.

The latest charges against the singer span from 1998 to 2010, according to Cook County, Illinois, State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.

Gardner’s mother, Michelle Kramer, appeared in “Surviving R. Kelly.”

She is shown tracking her daughter down at a Los Angeles hotel after TMZ released a video showing Gardner and another woman, Joycelyn Savage, out shopping.

Savage’s parents have said they believe Kelly is controlling their daughter.

Kramer is seen convincing her daughter to sneak out of the hotel where they dash to a waiting vehicle and leave.

Savage and another one of Kelly’s girlfriends, Azriel Clary, appeared in a CBS interview last week, defending and supporting the singer.

In a bonus clip from the docuseries, Kramer said her daughter received a call from Kelly, whom she had dated for nine years, saying he wanted to see Gardner.

Gardner returned to him after only three days at home.

The young woman said Kelly was controlling.

“I couldn’t even have a drink without his permission,” she said. “I’m a grown-a** woman, and I’ve gotta ask you if I want a drink? Everything you do, you have to ask him.”

Gardner also alleged in the New Yorker interview that there were “consequences” for disobeying Kelly.

She told the New Yorker the consequences included spankings, slappings, beatings, and being hit with an extension cord.

But she declined to describe the living situation in which she and other women were with Kelly as a “cult” and also rejected the term “brainwashed.”

“I wouldn’t even say ‘mind games.’ It was just the fact that he tried to break me,” she said. “I couldn’t be broken. He wanted that control over me, and I wouldn’t give him that power. So, he figured, like, ‘If I don’t give her food, she’ll come around.’ Nope. I’d rather die than come around and give you my soul.”

Yet, Gardner said, Kelly is also “a giver, because when everything between me and him was good — oh, my God, it was, like, perfect. But, as soon as he gets mad, he turns into a person like, oh, what up, the new Rob.”

She also said she doesn’t want to see him imprisoned.

“I feel like he should be on house arrest in a studio, because, like I said, his music makes him get through the situations, what’s he going through,” Gardner said. “Jail time, no. He needs to have a twenty-four-hour therapist at his house.”

When asked for comment on Gardner’s interview, Steve Greenberg — an attorney for the singer — told CNN in an email: “Mr. Kelly wishes the best for Ms. Gardner.”

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