Rumors, innuendo, and criminal charges regarding sexual misconduct have swirled around R. Kelly for almost two decades. He allegedly married Aaliyah when she was underage in 1994; in 2002, a video surfaced depicting him engaging in sex with, and urinating on, an underage girl; and he was found not guilty of child pornography in 2008.
Now, a new set of charges have been levied against the disgraced R&B singer. Cook County, Illinois prosecutors have charged R. Kelly with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four victims, at least three of whom were between the ages of 13 and 16 at the time.
The new charges, which involve alleged conduct from 1998 to 2010, come a month after Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx made a public plea for assistance in the case. “There is nothing to be done to investigate these allegations without the cooperation of both victims and witnesses,” Foxx said at a January news conference in January. “We cannot seek justice without you.”
The Sun-Times reported that at least two women since came forward, and attorney Michael Avenatti claims he recently provided the state’s attorney’s office with a videotape of Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl. It is unclear whether the indictment, including felony sexual abuse charges, was based on that information. A Cook County judge has approved a no-bail arrest warrant for Kelly, who is expected to appear at a bond hearing Saturday.
According to a 2018 Washington Post investigation, “the singer’s alleged behavior played out on many levels, from the billionaire record executive who first signed the dynamic young vocalist in the early 1990s to the low-paid assistants who arranged flights, food and bathroom breaks for his traveling entourage of young women.” That investigation detailed how the music industry turned a blind eye to allegations involving Kelly so it could keep cashing in on hits.
Kelly has beaten similar charges before; whether he can again remains to be seen.