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R. Kelly Charged With Sexually Abusing 4 Victims, Including 3 Underaged Girls

Kelly was charged in incidents that took place between 1998 and 2010 impacting four victims, three of whom were under the age of 17.

State's Attorney Kim Foxx announced charges against R. Kelly Friday afternoon.
Kelly Bauer/Block Club Chicago / WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
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CHICAGO — Nearly two decades after he was first charged for child pornography, singer R. Kelly will once again appear before a judge this weekend — this time on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx on Friday announced charges against the R&B singer, laying out incidents that occurred between 1998 and 2010 impacting four victims, three of whom were under the age of 17 at the time of the alleged attacks.

Foxx did not take questions or get into details of the alleged assaults at a news conference Friday but said the singer would appear in bond court Saturday.

Between May 26, 1998, and May 25, 1999, a victim with the initials H.W. was assaulted by Kelly, Foxx said. The singer faces four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse for “knowingly committ[ing] an act of sexual penetration” on a girl under the age of 17 in H.W.’s case, the charges state.

Victim R. L. was assaulted by Kelly between Sept. 26, 1998, and Sept. 25, 2001, Foxx said. R.L. was under 17 at the time of the assaults, court records show.

Victim J.P. was under 17 when she was assaulted by Kelly between May 1, 2009, and Jan. 31, 2010, Foxx said. The singer faces three counts of criminal sexual abuse in those attacks.

The only non-minor in the indictment was victim L.C., who Kelly allegedly raped on Feb. 18, 2003, court records show.

Kelly is expected to turn himself in and appear at a bond hearing Saturday afternoon.

The charges come about a week after attorney Michael Avenatti said he had handed Cook County prosecutors a video allegedly showing Kelly engaging in sex acts with an underage girl.

Credit: Kelly Bauer/Block Club Chicago
Journalists Jim DeRogatis (foreground) and Abdon Pallasch (background) have covered singer R. Kelly for years.

Journalist Jim DeRogatis, who has covered Kelly’s alleged crimes against underage women for years, said the alleged victim in that video is the same girl who was in the video at the center of Kelly’s previous child pornography trial. The videos were filmed during the “same era,” DeRogatis said. In 2008, Kelly was found not guilty in that case.

Avenatti, who said he is representing one of the victims Friday, said he is aware of two other videos and will turn them over to prosecutors. The video he already gave Foxx’s office shows Kelly having vaginal, anal and oral sex with a 14-year-old girl before urinating on her, Avenatti said.

Avenatti’s office has been working since April to investigate Kelly, and he’s representing two women who say they were victims of Kelly, two families of alleged victims and two “whistleblowers.” He plans to pursue Kelly and people who enabled him, including managers and attorneys, Avenatti said.

Kelly “undertook a course of action over two decades to abuse and sexually assault young girls, especially many of whom were the most vulnerable in our society,” Avenatti said.

Avenatti said he is confident Foxx’s office will be able to get a conviction in this new case.

At least one of the girls named in Friday’s indictments wouldn’t have been victimized if Kelly’s child pornography trial had ended in a conviction, DeRogatis said. He also criticized the judge in that case for not allowing evidence like Kelly’s marriage certificate to now-deceased singer Aaliyah, who was 15 when the two allegedly wed.

“There has been a lot of bad behavior” in the history of music, said DeRogatis — but no one has been as predatory as Kelly.

Abdon Pallasch, DeRogatis’ partner in writing about Kelly for years, said he is glad Foxx is pursuing the case and hopes the people allegedly victimized by Kelly can get justice.

But DeRogatis said he’s not sure if there can be justice for the 48 people he’s heard from over the years. The journalist said he’s talked with dozens of women and girls who felt failed by police and reporters. Chicago Police would “look out” for Kelly as he pursued underage girls, DeRogatis said.

Chicago Police could not immediately be reached for comment.

After word of the charges came down, Avenatti tweeted, “It’s over.”

At a Chicago news conference, Avenatti, who is representing one of the victims in Friday’s indictments, said he is aware of two more tapes, which he will turn over to prosecutors.

“He … undertook a course of action over two decades to abuse and sexually assault young girls, especially many of whom were the most vulnerable in our society,” Avenatti said.

He also put blame on Kelly’s enablers, saying “I will not rest until each of you is brought to justice.”

“Mr. Kelly did not do this alone,” Avenatti said, adding that managers and attorneys looked the other way while Kelly preyed on girls because they didn’t want to kill their “golden goose.”

Credit: Kelly Bauer/Block Club Chicago
Michael Avenatti at Friday’s press conference.

The video was given to Avenatti’s office by a man who has known Kelly for “decades,” Avenatti told CNN.

Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, said the singer has “always followed the law” in a statement on Twitter last week.

Renewed attention has been focused on Kelly following the release of a six-part docuseries “Surviving R. Kelly,” in which alleged victims discuss the singer’s involvement with underage girls.

After the docuseries came out, Foxx said families of some missing women who are linked to Kelly reached out to her office. She encouraged alleged victims of Kelly’s to come forward and speak to prosecutors.

Kelly’s Near West Side recording studio was also searched by city inspectors, who said there was evidence people were illegally living there. The singer moved out of the studio this week.

A different video, which allegedly showed a man assaulting and peeing on an underage girl, led to Kelly being charged with child pornography. He was found not guilty in that case in 2008.