R. Kelly, who already faces indictments on state charges for aggravated sexual assault and abuse, was arrested July 11 on federal child pornography charges. The controversial R&B singer now faces federal charges in two states: Illinois and New York.
Kelly, 52, was indicted on 13 new charges in Chicago, including enticement of a minor, obstruction of justice, and child pornography, according to Joseph D. Fitzpatrick, an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. He is being held at Chicago Metropolitan Correctional Center, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons.
On July 12, federal prosecutors in New York unsealed an indictment charging Kelly with racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor, and sexual exploitation of a child, according to NBC New York. The five-count superseding indictment alleged Kelly and his associates recruited girls and women to “engage in illegal sexual activity with the singer.”
Kelly, his managers, bodyguards, and assistants allegedly chose women and girls at concerts and other venues and arranged for them to travel to meet with the singer. The women and girls would be forced to call Kelly “Daddy” and follow stringent rules, such as not to look at other men and needing Kelly’s permission before doing anything, according to the indictment.
Around 7 p.m. on July 11, while walking his dogs, the singer was arrested by New York Police Department officers and federal Homeland Security agents. Officials expect Kelly will be transferred to New York to face the charges but a timeline has yet to be established.
“Mr. Kelly was aware of the investigations and the charges are not a surprise,” defense attorney Steve Greenberg said in a statement. “He had already assembled a team of outstanding federal litigators. He and his lawyers look forward to his day in court, to the truth coming out and to his vindication from what has been an unprecedented assault by others for their own personal gain.”
Greenberg said, “A bail hearing will be held early next week, at which time Mr. Kelly hopes to be released from custody.” He claimed no additional comments will be made until that time.
The 52-year-old, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was first charged in February with 10 counts of sexual abuse of a woman and three children. In May, he faced an additional 11 felony counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sex assault, and aggravated criminal sexual abuse against a victim identified as JP, according to CBS Chicago.
The May indictment alleged Kelly engaged in sex acts with JP in January 2010 “by the use of force or threat of force and… acted in such a manner as to threaten or endanger the life of JP.”
Kelly pleaded not guilty to the charges and after posting bail, was released from Cook County Jail in Chicago.
Asante McGee, one of Kelly’s accusers, said in a statement released Friday that she hoped the federal charges would send a clear message,
“To all of Robert’s victims and victims of others, don’t be afraid to speak out against your abuser, there is power in numbers,” McGee stated.
“To the two young women who are still in his home, he can no longer hurt you, you don’t have to be afraid. Come home to your family, be with your family who really love and care about you! They need you and you need them,” as reported by NBC New York.
Allegations against Kelly have followed him since his brief marriage to singer Aaliyah in 1994, when she was just 15 years old. Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008. Those charges stemmed from a 27-minute video, which purportedly showed Kelly having sex with a girl as young as 13. However, the young woman involved in the claim denied it was her in the video and did not testify.
Despite the allegations, Kelly experienced continued success in his singing career. In 2010, Kelly performed at the World Cup and released an album called “Love Letter.”
In January, the singer was the focus of a six-part documentary that profiled some of his alleged victims. Kelly grabbed headlines again in March following a bizarre interview with Gayle King.
About the Author
Nicole Rojas is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has published in various venues, including Newsweek, GlobalPost, IHS Jane’s Defence Weekly, and the Long Island Post. Nicole graduated from Boston University in 2012 with a degree in print journalism. She is an avid world traveler who recently explored Asia and Australia.