Whitney Houston‘s mother Cissy has responded to claims made in a new documentary that the singer was abused as a child.

Whitney, which was directed by Kevin MacDonald, was released in cinemas last week. It depicts both Houston and her half-brother Gary were molested by her cousin, Dee Dee Warwick, the sister of soul singer Dionne.

In a statement given to People Magazine, Cissy Houston has responded to the allegations for the first time. “By this statement, we do not intend to defend, condone or excuse the crime of molestation,” she said. “We cannot, however, overstate the shock and horror we feel and the difficulty we have believing that my niece Dee Dee Warwick (Dionne’s sister) molested two of my three children.”

She continued saying, “How I wish I could ask Dee Dee and [Whitney] what happened, but this film distinguishes itself from the other films about her by spreading rumour, innuendo and hearsay; leaving questions to which I’ll never have the answers.”

Houston’s mother added the filmmakers had kept the claims from her, saying she only found out about them two days before the documentary’s premiere at Cannes. She also argued that Houston would not have wanted them to be made public in such a way.

“Although she spoke about her struggle with drugs, the interventions, her daughter Krissi and her issues in her marriage, she never PUBLICLY spoke about her father’s stealing from her or revealed any claim that she had been molested,” Cissy added.

“IF she was molested I do not believe she would have wanted it to be revealed for the first time to thousands, maybe millions of people in a film.”

“Dee Dee may have had her personal challenges but the idea that she would have molested my children is overwhelming and, for us, unfathomable. We cannot reconcile the Public’s need to know about Whitney’s life as justification for invasion of her privacy or the charge against Dee Dee, a charge which neither Whitney nor Dee Dee is here to deny, refute or affirm.”

Warwick died on October 18, 2008. She was 66 years old. Houston, meanwhile, died on February 11, 2012, after drowning in a hotel bathtub.

Speaking to Deadline about the documentary, director MacDonald said he had suspected there “might be some kind of abuse involved” in Houston’s life before “anyone had actually told me.” “I just had a sense, having sat watching interviews about her, watching footage of her,” he said.