Ronald Savage alleges the Hip-hop legend sexually molested him in the late 1970s.
One of the pioneers of Hip-hop and co-founder of the Universal Zulu Nation, Kevin “Afrika Bambaataa” Donovan, was accused recently of sexual molestation by a former member of the group.
The accuser was originally known to have been a prominent New York politician, but it has recently been revealed who exactly he is. Ronald Savage, now 50, is a judicial delegate in the 12th Judicial District in the Bronx, N.Y. and a former New York State Democratic Committeeman, according to Ambrosia for Heads.
Savage originally revealed the alleged molestation in his 2014 book, Impulse, Urges and
Fantasies: Life is a Bag of Mixed Emotions, Vol. 1. In an interview with Shot 97, Savage spoke with host Troi “Star” Torain and detailed the ordeal and how he didn’t immediately tell anyone because he “wanted to be down with the ‘in’ crowd.” Savage said he knew what Bambaataa was allegedly doing to him was wrong, but was afraid of what the repercussions could be if he had told anyone.
While speaking with Star, Savage said the alleged molestation began when he was about 12 or 13 years old. He alleges it happened more than five times throughout his time with the Universal Zulu Nation.
In a statement to AllHipHop.com, Bambaataa’s attorney, Vivian K. Tozaki, denied the allegations.
“Recently, 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,” Tozaki 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.”
Chuck Freeze, member of the group Jazzy Five–prominent during Bambaataa’s rise, believes Savage and says he isn’t lying, according to New York Daily News. “We had no idea about this…Do I believe it? Yes, I do,” Freeze said.
The Universal Zulu Nation did release a statement addressing the allegations. In the statement
they wrote that “[the] attack [is] not only defamation and assassination of character[,] it is a diversion and attention shift tactic designed to counter all the positive works of the Universal
Zulu Nation.” They wrote that there will be “serious legal issues” that come into play with this reveal.
Though Savage kept it mostly to himself since its occurrence, he said he’s speaking out about it now because “he wants to change New York’s statue of limitations,” according to the Daily News. He said he isn’t seeking compensation or fame for what happened even though he was called by two high-ranking officials of the Universal Zulu Nation who told him they would vow to get him compensation for what happened in addition to a sit-down with Bambaataa. They asked him to “name [his] price,” because they could “take care of this today. Cash money,” they said in a recording reviewed by the Daily News.
Regardless of whether or not Savage would like to file criminal charges, New York state laws won’t allow him to sue or seek compensation. The laws do not allow charges to be pursued for child sex abuse if the victim has not filed a case by age 23. If the victim has reached this age, they aren’t allowed to pursue charges.
“I think the statute of limitations is unfair for victims,” Savage told the Daily News. “It took me all of these years to speak about this. I was embarrassed. I was ashamed.”
By chance, a couple days prior to Savage being revealed as the accuser, New York state assembly member Margaret Markey recently wrote an opinion piece for the Daily News regarding the law. In the piece, Markey addressed the current law and wrote about how “abuse victims are often very slow to come to grips with what happened to them.”
She wrote that she currently has “more than 70 other members of Legislature” who want to remove the statute of limitations for child sex abuse. In doing so, it would allow any victim to bring forth charges regardless of their age.
Savage said he will be looking to reform the current New York statute of limitations so that victims are allowed to speak up when they’re comfortable.