R. Kelly was charged with soliciting a minor for sexual purposes and soliciting prostitution from someone under 18 today in Hennepin County, Minnesota. The alleged incident took place 18 years ago, in July 2001, according to the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office. The StarTribune said it was unclear if Kelly would make an appearance there.
Mike Freeman, an attorney for the county, said the alleged incident occurred when a fan was trying to get an autograph from the singer before a concert. The lawyer claims Kelly gave the woman his phone number, and when she called him, he told her to go to his hotel room. “After some discussion she was offered $200 to take off her clothes and dance for him,” Freeman said, according to StarTribune. “After accepting the $200, she got naked and they proceeded to dance.”
They then had sexual contact, which the attorney said was not intercourse, and Kelly allegedly gave her VIP seats to his show. Afterwards, they stayed in contact and discussed a visit to Chicago, where Kelly lives. The newspaper did not disclose the victim’s name or age at the time of the incident, though she was likely between the ages of 16 and 18 based on the charges.
Freeman told TwinCities.com that the three-year statute of limitations doesn’t apply to Kelly since he did not remain in Minnesota.
R. Kelly’s lawyer, Steve Greenberg, tells Rolling Stone that he considers the charged “absurd.” “The facts as known show this is just a cry for attention by the prosecutor,” he says.
“Some girl comes in and starts dancing and says he touched her? What’s she doing there dancing? It’s enough already,” Greenberg added to The Star Tribune. “The idea of a statute of limitations is after a certain amount of time, you don’t charge people. I’m not going to waste my time on that case at this point. Until [Freeman] can get Mr. Kelly to Minnesota, I’m not going to burn one brain cell on him.”
A representative for the Hennepin County Attorney’s Office did not return Rolling Stone’s request for comment. The StarTribune said the office learned of the alleged incident via a tip line.
Last week, Kelly pleaded not guilty to charges of racketeering and sex trafficking in a Brooklyn federal court. The judge in the case denied Kelly’s bail, declaring him a flight risk. Kelly is also facing federal charges in Chicago for child pornography, enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity and conspiracy to obstruct justice.