sexual abuse

R. Kelly Charged With 10 Counts of Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse

Kelly. Photo: WireImage

R. Kelly is once again officially facing criminal charges for his decades of alleged sexual abuse. He was charged with 10 counts of felony aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Chicago’s Cook County on Friday and a judge has approved his no-bail arrest warrant, the state’s attorney Kim Foxx has announced. Kelly will turn himself in and appear for a bond hearing on Saturday afternoon, she said. He is also scheduled to appear in court on March 8. There are four total victims, three of which are minors ranging in age from 13 to 16 years old; one of the victims is the subject of four of the charges, according to documents obtained by the Cook County Clerk of the Circuit Court. These cases of sexual abuse allegedly occurred between May 1998 and January 2010, respectively. As many as a dozen women reportedly testified before a grand jury. Each charge carries a maximum sentence of 3 to 7 years in prison.

The charges come a day after The New Yorker reported that multiple investigations into Kelly are picking up steam on both the state and federal level. According to longtime Kelly reporter Jim DeRogatis, the Department of Homeland Security is investigating Kelly for human sex trafficking, reportedly looking into whether or not he transported two underage women across state lines. Grand juries are also reportedly being convened in New York and Illinois, and an investigation into Kelly reopened in Georgia. It was previously reported that attorney Michael Avenatti, who is representing Kelly’s alleged victims, turned over new video evidence of Kelly allegedly sexually assaulting a minor to Cook County prosecutors and an indictment was expected. TMZ reports that the tape led to the charges. Avenatti tweeted following the charges, “After 25 years of serial sexual abuse and assault of underage girls, the day of reckoning for R Kelly has arrived.”

On Thursday, two more women came forward in New York to accuse Kelly of sexually abusing and harassing them in 1995 when they were both underage; both women said they were speaking with law enforcement. In 2002, Kelly was charged with 21 counts of child pornography but was ultimately acquitted. Kelly’s lawyers did not immediately respond to the Sun-Times’ request for comment on Friday on the new charges but have long maintained Kelly’s innocence. Lifetime, which aired the bombshell docuseries Surviving R. Kelly in January that renewed interest in the allegations, said in a statement to Vulture, “We are proud that Lifetime was able to provide a platform for survivors to be heard.”

This post has been updated throughout.

R. Kelly Charged With 10 Counts of Aggravated Sexual Abuse