A man who claims he was molested by hip hop pioneer Afrika Bambaataa as a teenager says he's speaking out about his abuse to help get rid of NYC's statute of limitations on child molestation.
Ronald Savage was just 13 when he joined Bambaataa's hip hop collective Zulu Nation. He told the NY Daily News he hauled crates of vinyl records for Bambaataa and the other DJs who helped make hip hop a worldwide phenomenon.
“I want him to know how much he damaged me growing up,” cried Savage, 50. “I was just a child,” he told the Daily News exclusively. “Why did he take my innocence away? Why did he do this to me?”
Savage said Bambaataa, who is best known for his 1982 hit “Planet Rock”, began molesting him when he was 15.
Savage said he wants to help remove New York's statute of limitation on criminal charges and civil penalties for child molesters.
Currently, the law bars victims from pursuing criminal charges or civil penalties after their 23rd birthday.
“I think the statute of limitations is unfair for victims,” he told the News. “It took me all of these years to speak about this. I was embarrassed. I was ashamed.”
Savage said he told his mother and several ex-girlfriends about the sexual abuse he endured at the hands of Bambaataa, whose real name is Kevin Donovan.
Court records obtained by the News contain references Savage made about the abuse he suffered years ago.
But speaking out has made Savage an enemy of fiercely loyal members of Bambaataa's Zulu Nation.
“Name your price,” said one high-ranking Zulu Nation official during a phone call to Savage. “We can take care of this today. Cash money," the man said during a recording that was reviewed by the News.
“I’m not talking about no $5,000,” the man says. “I’m talking about, let’s get a number, let’s say $50,000.”
“One hundred thousand!” blurted Savage, who is heard throughout the tape saying he's not exposing Bambaataa for the money.
The man and another high-ranking official begged Savage to stop talking to the media.
Bambaataa's attorney, Vivian Kimi Tozaki, denies the men were speaking on Bambaataa's behalf.
She threatened to sue Savage for defamation and accused him of making the scandalous allegations to sell his book.
“Defamatory statements were published seeking to harm my client’s reputation so as to lower him in the estimation of the community while deterring others from associating or dealing with him,” she said.
“The statements show a reckless disregard for the truth, were published with knowledge of their falsity, and are being made by a lesser-known person seeking publicity," she added.
Star, a former Hot 97 and Power 105 DJ, said Bambaataa, now 58, will eventually have to address the allegations if he hopes to clear his name.
“If Bambaataa wants to retain his credibility, he needs to step up and talk about what happened here,” says Star.