AP

R. Kelly Charged With 10 Counts Of Aggravated Sexual Abuse

Feb 22, 2019, 12:07 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 5:15 pm

R. Kelly performs onstage during R. Kelly, New Edition and The Jacksons at the 2013 BET Experience at Staples Center on June 30, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. He was charged February 22, 2019, with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse. (Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images for BET)

(Photo by Earl Gibson III/Getty Images for BET)

CHICAGO (AP) — R. Kelly was charged Friday with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse, after decades of lurid rumors and allegations that the R&B star was sexually abusing women and underage girls.

Tandra Simonton, spokeswoman for the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office, confirmed to The Associated Press the charges had been filed against the 52-year-old Grammy winner but declined to say the specific number. Media reports said there were 10 counts, all involving underage victims.

Over the years, he has consistently denied any sexual misconduct.

Kelly, whose legal name is Robert Kelly, is one of the top-selling recording artists of all time, with hits such as “I Believe I Can Fly,” and his arrest sets the stage for another #MeToo-era celebrity trial. Bill Cosby went to prison last year, and former Hollywood studio boss Harvey Weinstein is awaiting trial.

Kelly was charged a week after Michael Avenatti, the attorney whose clients have included porn star Stormy Daniels, said he recently gave Chicago prosecutors new video evidence of the singer having sex with an underage girl. It was not immediately clear if the charges were connected to that video.

In 2008, a jury acquitted Kelly of child pornography charges over a graphic video that prosecutors said showed him having sex with a girl as young as 13. He and the young woman allegedly depicted with him denied they were in the 27-minute video, even though the picture quality was good and witnesses testified it was them, and she did not take the stand. Kelly could have gotten 15 years in prison.

Legally and professionally, the walls began closing in on Kelly more recently after the release of a BBC documentary about him last year and, last month, the multipart Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly.” Together they detailed allegations he was holding women against their will and running a “sex cult.”

After the latest documentary, Chicago’s top prosecutor, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, said she was “sickened” by the allegations and asked potential victims to come forward.

#MeToo activists and a social media movement using the hashtag #MuteRKelly called on streaming services to drop Kelly’s music and promoters not to book any more concerts. And protesters demonstrated outside Kelly’s Chicago studio.

Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, said earlier this year that his client was the victim of a TV hit piece and that Kelly “never knowingly had sex with an underage woman, he never forced anyone to do anything, he never held anyone captive, he never abused anyone.”

Avenatti said his office was retained last April by people regarding allegations of sexual assault of minors by Kelly. He said the video surfaced during a 10-month investigation. He told the Associated Press that the person who provided the VHS tape knew both Kelly and the female in the video.

Despite accusations that span decades, the singer and songwriter who rose from poverty on Chicago’s South Side has retained a sizable following. He has written numerous hits for himself and other artists, including Celine Dion, Michael Jackson and Lady Gaga. His collaborators have included Jay-Z and Usher.

Kelly broke into the R&B scene in 1993 with his first solo album, “12 Play,” which produced such popular sex-themed songs as “Bump N’ Grind” and “Your Body’s Callin’.”

Months after those successes, the then-27-year-old Kelly faced allegations he married 15-year-old Aaliyah, the R&B star who later died in a plane crash in the Bahamas. Kelly was the lead songwriter and producer of Aaliyah’s 1994 debut album.

Kelly and Aaliyah never confirmed the marriage, though Vibe magazine published a copy of the purported marriage license. Court documents later obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times showed Aaliyah admitted lying about her age on the license.

Jim DeRogatis, a longtime music critic for the Chicago Sun-Times, played a key role in drawing the attention of law enforcement to Kelly. In 2002, he received the sex tape in the mail that was central to Kelly’s 2008 trial. He turned it over to prosecutors. In 2017, DeRogatis wrote a story for BuzzFeed about the allegations Kelly was holding women against their will in Georgia.

KSL 5 TV Live

AP

This image provided by the Topeka Zoo shows Karen, an ostrich at the Topeka Zoo in Topeka, Kan. The...

Associated Press

An adored ostrich at a Kansas zoo has died after swallowing a staff member’s keys

A beloved ostrich at the Topeka Zoo & Conservation Center in Kansas has died after swallowing a staff member's keys.

7 hours ago

FILE: A Brightline train is seen at the new MiamiCentral terminal during the inaugural trip from Mi...

Ken Ritter

Work starts on bullet train rail line from Sin City to the City of Angels

A $12 billion high-speed passenger rail line between Las Vegas and the Los Angeles area has started construction.

9 hours ago

FILE: GRID Alternatives employees Tony Chang (L) and Sal Miranda install no-cost solar panels on th...

Alexa St. John and Will Weissert

Biden is marking Earth Day by announcing $7 billion in federal solar power grants

President Joe Biden is marking Earth Day by announcing $7 billion in federal grants for residential solar projects serving 900,000-plus households in low- and middle-income communities.

14 hours ago

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 18: Students and pro-Palestinian activists face police as they gather ou...

Nick Perry and Dave Collins

Columbia cancels in-person classes and Yale protesters are arrested as Mideast war tensions grow

Columbia University has canceled in-person classes and police have arrested dozens of students at Yale University as tensions on U.S. college campuses continue to grow.

15 hours ago

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 19: Former U.S. President Donald Trump exits the courtroom for the day a...

Michael R. Sisak, Jennifer Peltz, Eric Tucker and Jake Offenhartz

Prosecutors will make history with opening statements in Trump’s hush money criminal case

For the first time in history, prosecutors will present a criminal case against a former American president to a jury Monday.

16 hours ago

This image released by A24 shows Kirsten Dunst in a scene from "Civil War." (A24 via AP)...

Jake Coyle, The Associated Press

‘Civil War’ continues box-office campaign at No. 1

“Civil War,” Alex Garland’s ominous American dystopia, remained the top film in theaters in its second week of release, according to studio estimates Sunday.

1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

R. Kelly Charged With 10 Counts Of Aggravated Sexual Abuse