Nicki Minaj goes Instagram-official with registered sex offender Kenneth Petty

Erin Jensen
Nicki Minaj poses backstage during the MTV Europe Music Awards on Nov. 4, 2018.

Nicki Minaj has reportedly come to the defense of a man who appears to be her new boyfriend following comments about his criminal history.

Over the course of Sunday and Monday, the "Barbie Dreams" artist shared Instagram photos in which she is seen embracing and holding hands with a man identified by several media outlets, including People magazine and E! News, as Kenneth Petty, 40, a registered sex offender.

While comments on her Instagram posts appear to have been disabled, E! News and Fox News report Minaj responded to commenters who remarked on Petty's status as a Level 2 offender on New York State’s Sex Offender Registry. He was assessed as posing a medium risk of committing another offense.

According to the registry, in April 1995, Petty was convicted of attempted first-degree rape for a 1994 assault that occurred when both he and the victim were 16. It also notes that he used a knife or cutting instrument during the commission of the crime. He was sentenced to between 18 and 54 months in state prison. According to New York State Department of Correctionsrecords, he served just under four years and was released in January of 1999.

The DOC website says that in 2006, Petty went back to prison for first-degree manslaughter in 2006 and served nearly seven years before being released on parole in May 2013.

When an Instagram commenter noted that he would have been a teenager at the time of the attempted rape and speculated the victim "must've been a white girl," Minaj reportedly offered clarification, stating, "He was 15, she was 16... in a relationship. But go awf Internet. y'all can't run my life. Y'all can't even run y'all own life. Thank you boo."

Both Petty and Minaj have ties to Queens, New York, which may explain her caption in the first post, which quoted Adele's "Hello": "Did you ever make it out of that town where nothing ever happens?… it’s no secret… that the both of us… are running out of time..."

Minaj appeared to respond to the haters Monday in an NSFW post, sharing additional photos of herself with Petty. She captioned the new pics: "Oh they wanna talk? Let’s give’m (something) to talk about. *Shania voice* ."

USA TODAY has reached out to Minaj's rep for comment.

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