The History of Crimes And Allegations Against R. Kelly
For over twenty years, R&B superstar R. Kelly has been accused of sexually abusing young fans.
The stories began in the 1990s, when he was just starting out, and many of them focused on his predatory behavior toward young women.
After being found guilty of eight counts of sex trafficking and one count of racketeering in a New York court in 2022, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison.
A second federal trial in Chicago ended with a conviction for child sexual abuse several months later.
Singer Robert Sylvester Kelly (real name) is scheduled to appear in court in Minnesota on sexual misconduct charges.
When Kelly was only eight years old, a female relative sexually abused him, and he wrote about it in his autobiography.
The timeline of the charges against him is detailed below.
1994: Marries Aaliyah
Kelly, at the time 27 years old, married Aaliyah, then 15 years old, in a private ceremony in Chicago.
Vibe magazine later found out that Aaliyah had put down 18 as her age on the marriage license. As of February 1995, the marriage was declared null and void.
At Kelly’s trial, his former tour manager testified that the singer bribed a government employee in 1994 to get Aaliyah a fake ID so that they could get married.
Aaliyah avoided answering any further questions about her relationship throughout her career. She told an interviewer, “Hey, don’t believe all that mess,” when people asked her opinion. People misunderstand us, even though we’re very near.
After Aaliyah’s death in a plane crash in 2001, Kelly rarely brought up the singer. In an author’s note, it says that “certain episodes could not be included for complicated reasons,” which is probably why she isn’t in his autobiography.
In a 2016 interview with GQ magazine, he went into greater detail about their history together, “but I will never have that conversation with anyone,” she said when asked about their marriage. Considering that Aaliyah’s parents have specifically requested that I not do so,”
1996: Sued for emotional distress
Tiffany Hawkins sued R. Kelly for “personal injuries and emotional distress” she says she got from being with him for three years.
According to the documents she filed in court, she and Kelly began having sexual encounters in 1991, when she was 15 and he was 24. The Chicago Sun Times reports that in 1998, Ms. Hawkins settled her case for $250,000 out of a total settlement offer of $10 million.
A spokesperson for Kelly claimed she was unaware of the allegations.
2001: Sued by intern
Tracy Sampson claimed that R. Kelly forced her “into an indecent sexual relationship.” She filed a lawsuit against the singer.
As she put it, she was “treated as his personal sex object and cast aside” during her time as an intern at Epic Records.
“He frequently tried to control every aspect of my life, including who I would see and where I would go,” she said. The New York Post reports that the parties involved in the lawsuit agreed to settle out of court for an undisclosed amount.
April/May 2002: Two more court cases
Patrice Jones of Chicago sues Chicago rapper Kelly over allegations that he impregnated her when she was underage and coerced her into having an abortion.
Additionally, Montina Woods filed a lawsuit against Kelly, claiming that he secretly recorded them engaging in sexual activity. Supposedly, the track made its way around on a “sex tape” sold by bootleggers and titled R. Kelly Triple-X.
The singer paid undisclosed sums to settle both cases out of court in exchange for confidentiality agreements.
June 2002: Charged over child abuse videos
He faces 21 counts of making videos depicting sexual acts on children.
In Chicago, he was arrested on charges of taping the acts and enticing a minor to take part in them. The only suspect was a girl born in September of 1984.
An anonymous video submission to the Chicago Sun Times led to his arrest earlier this year. They gave it to law enforcement, who ran it by FBI forensics experts to make sure it was legit.
After posting $750,000 bail, Kelly denied the allegations in an interview with MTV and entered a not guilty plea in court.
The trial lasted six years, during which time Kelly released his critically acclaimed album Trapped in the Closet and was nominated for an Image Award by the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People).
Kelly was acquitted of all charges because the jury could not establish that the girl in the tape was underage.
2002-2004: Arrest prompts further charges
Kelly was arrested at his Florida vacation home and faced additional charges of producing images of child sexual abuse.
During the arrest, police say they found photos of him having sex with a minor, which is why he is facing these charges.
The police did not have sufficient evidence to warrant a search, and the judge agreed with Kelly’s legal team, so all charges against Kelly were dropped.
2017: Allegations of a ‘cult’
Six women were quoted as saying they were trapped in a sex “cult” by R. Kelly in a lengthy report published by Buzzfeed.
The article alleged that Kelly seduced young women when they approached him for help with their music careers before taking control of their lives, dictating “what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep, and how they engage in sexual encounters that he records”.
Kelly reportedly took the women’s phones away, cutting them off from their loved ones.
Three ex-employees as well as the parents of several women reported their daughters missing.
2017-2018: Victims approach the press
When Jerhonda Pace talked about her sexual encounter with Kelly when she was a minor, she broke a promise not to say anything about it in public. Another alleged victim, Kitti Jones, said that the celebrity made her go without food, forced her to have sexual encounters with other women, and beat her up. Ms. Pace would later give evidence in Kelly’s 2021 trial.
In March 2018, Ms. Kitti and other people close to R. Kelly were interviewed for a BBC Three documentary. Lovell Jones, a onetime collaborator and friend of R. Kelly’s, has claimed that Kelly “common knowledge” among Kelly’s peers that the singer preferred young girls and that Kelly himself asked him to seek out women “that looked young” at parties.
2018: #MuteRKelly, staff departures and new court case
In order to stop the singer from singing, the #MuteRKelly movement got RCA to end their contract with the artist. They also targeted concert promoters, ticket sellers, and streaming services, with Spotify, Apple Music, and Pandora all agreeing to demote Kelly’s songs from their playlists (a decision that was later reversed).
Lawyer Linda Mensch said that her leaving had “nothing to do with any allegations about Mr. Kelly’s social life,” but the star’s publicist and personal assistant also left around the same time.
Kelly was filmed saying the campaign against him was “too late,” despite protests outside his shows.
“Only God can mute me,” he sang defiantly on a song called I Admit. “Am I supposed to go to jail or lose my career because of your opinion?”
A former partner of the star filed a lawsuit against him, claiming that he “intentionally” infected her with a sexually transmitted disease.
2019: New documentary leads to charges
A six-hour documentary on Lifetime called Surviving R. Kelly gave the most in-depth look to date at the accusations made against the musician.
Two weeks after the show aired, Kelly’s record label cut his contract. Concerts scheduled for the United States and New Zealand were scrapped.
Michael Avenatti, an attorney for famous people, said in February that he had video of Kelly being sexual with a 14-year-old girl. A few weeks later, Kelly was arrested in Chicago and charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He gave a dramatic TV interview in which he pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors have filed more charges of sexual assault and abuse against a child between the ages of 13 and 16.
The charging documents allege sexual and oral sex with a minor “by the use of force or threat of force.” People thought that one of the women shown in the documentary Surviving R. Kelly was the accuser, who said she met the singer at an earlier trial.
July 2019: Sex Trafficking charges
Kelly received twin federal indictments, one each in Chicago and Brooklyn.
All of the accusations painted a picture of the singer and his friends working together to find and transport underage girls across state lines for illegal sexual purposes, like making videos of child sex abuse, and to stop justice by destroying evidence and bribing or threatening witnesses.
August 2019: Prostitution charges
Kelly was facing criminal cases in three different US states after prosecutors in Minnesota filed prostitution charges against him.
In 2001, a teenager who had sought his autograph accused him of being a sexual predator. Kelly allegedly offered the 17-year-old woman $200 (£164) to strip down and dance with him in his hotel room.
Kelly’s lawyer said the charges were “beyond absurd.”
August-September 2020: Prison assault
At the end of August, a fellow inmate at Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Center attacked Kelly while he was sleeping.
His lawyer asked that he be set free right away because “the government cannot guarantee his safety.” This request, like many others to have Kelly granted bail, was denied.
August 2021: Aaliyah relationship confirmed
U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly made a number of rulings at the final pre-trial hearing before Kelly’s trial that limited the admissibility of certain pieces of evidence.
She questioned one of the singer’s attorneys during the hearing as to whether or not the singer denied having sexual relations with Aaliyah when she was a minor.
Thomas A. Farinella “heaved a huge sigh and said, “No,” as reported by the AP.”
August-September 2021: Trial and guilty verdict
The trial started in New York City on August 18.
Find out more about the case by reading:
Kelly’s trial: a look back at the pivotal moments and testimony that led to his conviction
After deliberating for two days, the jury returned a guilty verdict for R. Kelly on all nine counts on September 27.
Lawyer Gloria Allred, who defended several of the victims, bragged to the press, “I’ve been practicing law for 47 years. Since then, I’ve gone after a wide variety of sexual offenders who preyed on women and children.
To quote one of my many predators: “Mr. Kelly is the worst.”
November 2021: Witness intimidation
Before Kelly’s trial in New York, a man was given eight years in prison for intimidating a witness.
According to a statement released by the New York attorney general’s office in June 2020, Michael Williams attempted to “prevent the victim-witness from continuing to co-operate” by setting fire to the father of a witness who was scheduled to testify.
Williams “attempted to use violence and intimidation to divert the course of justice and prevent a victim’s voice from being heard,” they said.
June 2022: New York sentencing
Kelly was given a 30-year prison term for sexually abusing minors and women while in the spotlight.
Judge Ann Donnelly of the United States District Court stated that the singer had a “indifference to human suffering” and had used sex as a weapon, compelling his victims to engage in horrific acts and infecting some of them with STDs. She criticized what she saw as her husband’s teaching of “love is enslavement and violence” to their children.
Some of the abused women spoke out against the singer in court, telling him that he “destroyed so many people’s lives” before he was sentenced.
Kelly’s attorneys said he plans to file an appeal.
August 2022: New federal trial in Chicago
The prosecution stated at the beginning of Kelly’s second federal trial that he had a “dark” and “hidden” side that the public rarely saw during his career.
The singer stood trial in his hometown of Chicago on multiple counts, including child pornography, obstruction of justice, and more.
The key witness testified that the R&B singer had “hundreds” of sex encounters with her before she turned 18.
Identifying herself only as “Jane,” a 37-year-old woman claimed that inappropriate contact with Kelly began when she was 13 years old.
It was argued by his legal team that he is not “a monster” and should be given a fair trial.
September 2022: Another guilty verdict
The disgraced actor’s second federal trial for child sexual abuse resulted in a guilty verdict.
After a four-week trial in Chicago, the jury found him guilty on six of 13 counts.
He was cleared of obstruction of justice charges stemming from his child pornography trial in 2008.
November 2022: Manager pleads guilty to threatening victim
The former manager of R. Kelly was found guilty of stalking and harassing one of the singer’s victims and given a 20-month prison sentence.
In July, Donnell Russell pled guilty to intimidating and threatening a woman who had previously spoken out about Kelly’s abuse.
To prevent her from testifying against his client, he used an alias to release sexually explicit photos of her online.
January 2023: Some charges dropped as ‘justice is served’
Kelly had been facing decades in prison when a prosecutor in Chicago announced she was dropping sexual abuse and assault charges dating back to 1998.
After announcing that her office “will no longer be pursuing these indictments,” Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said, “Sometimes justice is served even when there is no conviction.”
February 2023: 20-year sentence for child sex crimes
A Chicago judge sentences Kelly to 20 years in prison, following the 2022 trial in which a jury found he had enticed minors for sex and produced child sexual imagery.
However, in a victory for the singer’s lawyers, the judge said that all but one of those years would be served at the same time as his previous 30-year prison sentence.
The judge said he would have dealt a heftier sentence if the Chicago trial had come first.
Source: R. Kelly