On February 22nd, Robert Kelly, regularly known as R. Kelly, was arrested and charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four victims. Three out of four accusers claim to have been underage during their sexual encounter with the three time Grammy award winner. The allegations date back to 1998 and are as recent as 2010. According to The New York Times, celebrity lawyer Michael Avenatti, turned in a 40 minute long, pornagraphic video of Kelly with a minor to the Chicago Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office in February. Kelly’s indictment can also be credited with the release of Lifetime’s six part docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly, which details allegations of the musician abusing young girls and women, forcing them into a “sex cult.”
This is not the first time that Kelly has faced difficulties with the law. BBC News created a timeline of the singer’s legal troubles, dating back to 2001, when Tracy Sampson, an intern at Epic records, filed a lawsuit against the R&B superstar, stating that he had sexually coerced her at age 17. In 2002, a woman by the name of Patrice Jones filed a lawsuit against Kelly, claiming that she had been intimate with him about thirty times before her 17th birthday. That same year, Kelly was indicted on 21 counts of child pornography and was sued by backup dancer Montina Woods, for video taping her during a sexual act without her consent. In 2008, Kelly was acquitted of all charges of child pornogrphy. Following this, several more lawsuits would emerge, involving women who argued that Kelly had engaged in sexual behavior with them whilst they were underage, held them captive in his house, and intentionally infected them with a sexually transmitted disease.
Journalist, Gayle King conducted an interview with Kelly which aired on March 8th. This was his first appearance in the media since his incarceration. King questioned Kelly about various allegations, his public image, an even the sexual abuse he endured as a child. Paige Harrington, a junior at Ramapo who viewed the interview said, “[T]his [interview] did not at all help R. Kelly. I think his overreaction just made it worse. He was obviously trying to gain pity but I think that just worked against him.” Since his arrest on the 22nd, Kelly was taken into custody again as a result of his failure to pay $161,000 of overdue fees in child support.
This is the second time that the artist has been in jail over a span of two weeks. Kelly’s $100,000 in bail and $161,000 in child support have been paid off by anonymous individuals. USA Today reported that two other tapes have been turned into authorities that allegedly feature Kelly and underage girls. Kelly’s lawyer told The New York Times that “Mr. Kelly is strong, he’s got a lot of support and he’s going to be vindicated on all of these charges.”
By: Tara Lamorgese, Staff Writer
Featured Image: R. Kelly and his lawyer, Steven Greenberg, leaving Chicago’s Cook County Jail on March 9th. (Photo Courtesy of Variety)