https://pitchfork.com/news/emo-musician-william-control-ex-aiden-accused-of-running-sex-cult-police-decline-to-prosecute/Multiple women have come forward with allegations of physical, sexual, emotional, and financial abuse against William Francis, the former frontman for emo band Aiden and a solo artist who records as William Control. A new investigative report from The Daily Beast’s Amy Zimmerman includes graphic descriptions from several women of violent acts they say were performed on them by Francis. They claim to have been forced into a “sex cult” by Francis, who, they suggest, used his public persona as a BDSM practitioner as a guise for violence. The accusations include being forced to tattoo Francis' initials on their bodies and sign contracts in blood, and being brutally beaten.
According to The Daily Beast, police in Federal Way, Washington investigated claims against Francis, but declined to prosecute. On June 7, Francis wrote on Facebook: “I went into the police for questioning about these allegations earlier this year. After showing the detective my side of the story, including private communication, he recommended no charges be pressed, because it was clear the behavior was consensual. I have in the past, engaged in heavy role play and bondage relationships WITH consent. However, I do not engage in that sort of play anymore. And for anyone who feels as though I have hurt them or violated their consent, I am sorry. It won’t ever happen again. There are lots of things that have been said that are outright lies. I have never been with underage girls. I have never been involved in a ‘sex cult.’”
One woman, a 22-year-old named Vitoria Chan, posted on Facebookearlier this month that Francis “targets young emotionally unstable women into becoming BDSM sex slaves.” She continued, “I started to get groomed into this cult when I was 14 years old.” Chan reiterated her statements to The Daily Beast.
Another woman, identified as Lily, told The Daily Beast, “He had me sign a contract, and the contract had to be signed in my blood.” She also claimed that Francis “wanted me to change my appearance, lose weight—I developed an eating disorder. There were rules, and he would make me film myself doing various degrading sex acts.” She also told The Daily Beast that Francis once anally raped her.
A woman named Sarka J told the website Salty that Francis financially manipulated her; she said she paid Francis $100,000 over three years. “He wanted plenty of money as proof of my love, and if I didn’t send it I wasn’t allowed to see him,” she recalled. Stormie Somers, who dated Francis for nine years, told The Daily Beast, “I’d send him money constantly; I’d have to do jobs to make sure that he had money. Even if he didn’t need the money, it was still my job to supply him with money.”
Sarka J and Stormie Somers also detailed particularly violent incidents they claim to have experienced with William Francis. Sarka told Salty, “I couldn’t consent because I was scared to death. I couldn’t consent because of the loaded gun being forcefully pulled to my mouth. Trying to refuse only meant more torture until I gave up. I couldn’t consent because being beaten heavily with fists to my face and head and temples, as well as being choked unconscious.”
Somers said to the Daily Beast that in October 2010, Francis “summoned” her to a hotel room in Los Angeles, where he assaulted her. “He collapsed my throat, dislocated my jaw, he gave me black eyes, a contusion to my spine,” Somers said. She also told The Daily Beast that Francis used her to recruit other women into the “sex cult.”
A woman identified as Sarah, who also says she was physically abused by Francis, told The Daily Beast, “I’m thousands of pounds in debt because of the things he insisted I buy for him and pay for.”
On June 8, Francis wrote on Facebook, “I've decided that in order to move forward with my life I am shutting everything down completely.” He continued, “I’m sorry to everyone but it’s best that I focus on my family and not have any more communication with the outside world.”