(Photo: Getty Images, Jeff Spicer)

[Warning: This article contains descriptions of sexual assault.]

According to a report from TMZ, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department has confirmed that it has launched an investigation into sexual battery allegations against Seal. The accuser is actress Tracey Birdsall, who told her story to TMZ and explained that she was Seal’s neighbor in Los Angeles in 2016. She says the two of them were friends, up until an incident in which she was at Seal’s house and he “lunged at her” and attempted to force himself on her. Birdsall says she asked Seal what he was doing, and he replied “I’m kissing you” before beginning to “belittle her for what she was wearing” and “insinuating she was asking for it.”

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He then allegedly started to grope her, and she “demanded he stop.” She says he then convinced her to sit next to him on the couch, at which point he begin to “make fun of what she was wearing” and started groping her again. Birdsall says she left then and “did not have contact with Seal again,” adding that she decided to report the incident to the police after hearing about Seal encouraging women to come forward with stories of sexual harassment.

In a statement, Seal says he “vehemently denies” the allegations and that he “intends to vigorously defend himself.”