UPDATE: R. Kelly surrendered to Chicago police Friday night after being charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, CNN reported. Kelly was placed in handcuffs before entering the station; the singer did not speak to media who congregated outside the station. Kelly will be in court Saturday for his bail hearing.
— Megan Crepeau (@crepeau) February 23, 2019
R. Kelly has been charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Cook County, Illinois.
In the past week, a previously unseen videotape allegedly depicting Kelly having sex with an underage girl had been acquired by Stormy Daniels’ lawyer Michael Avenatti; CNN also viewed the videotape, which Avenatti reported handed over to Cook County prosecutors after receiving it from a whistleblower within Kelly’s organization. On Thursday, a new accuser came forward with allegations that Kelly had sex with her when she was underage.
A press release issued by the Cook County State’s Attorney notes that each count is a class 2 felony and carries a sentence of between 3 to 7 years in prison if found guilty. There are four victims, including three females ranging in age from 13 to 16, tied to the 10 charges. The alleged incidents took place between 1998 and 2010.
“After 25 years of serial sexual abuse and assault of underage girls, the day of reckoning for R. Kelly has arrived,” Avenatti tweeted. “It’s over.”
A no-bail arrest warrant has been issued for the singer, according to CNN, although TMZ reported that Kelly would likely surrender to authorities Friday night, with a bond hearing set for Saturday.
In the indictment against Kelly obtained by Rolling Stone, the singer has been accused of “sexual penetration” of multiple women “at least 13 years of age but under 17 years of age.” The age of consent in Illinois is 17 years old.
At a press conference Friday, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx detailed the charges against Kelly: Four charges stem from Kelly’s alleged incidents with an underage girl initialed “H.W.” between May 1998 and May 1999. Two counts were drawn from “R.L.,” who, while underage, had sexual encounters with Kelly between September 1998 to September 2001. The most recent counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, from May 2009 to January 2010, are “J.P.,” who was also underage. A fourth charge from accuser “L.C.” accused Kelly of “transmission of semen upon any part of the victim’s body for sexual gratification” by “the use of force or threat of force” stemming from an alleged 2003 incident.
Earlier Friday, the New Yorker reported that numerous federal authorities – including the FBI, Homeland Security and IRS – were investigating Kelly. The New Yorker added that an Illinois grand jury was convened in order to weigh charges against Kelly stemming from the newly unearthed sex tape. Earlier this year, the outcry against R. Kelly was once again amplified by the airing of the Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, which ultimately resulted in the singer being dropped by Sony Music.
“We are proud that Lifetime was able to provide a platform for survivors to be heard,” a Lifetime spokesperson told CNN following news of the charges against Kelly.
“Although long overdue, I am pleased that authorities have finally stepped up to the plate and done a thorough investigation,” Shay M. Lawson, attorney for Kelly’s ex-girlfriend Kitti Jones who was profiled by Rolling Stone in 2017. “But I want the public to keep in mind from a legal standpoint this is just the beginning. The real fight is in front of us. We’ve been here before with R. Kelly and he walked away a free man. So I’m putting my hope that this time will be different; that this is the beginning of the process that brings an actual conviction and justice for survivors like my client Kitti and the families waiting to be reunited with their daughters.”
Kelly’s lawyer, Steve Greenberg, and advisor, Don Russell, did not immediately reply to requests for comment.
R. Kelly – Cook County State’s Attorney’s Indictment for Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse