R. Kelly Charged With Kidnapping And Sex-Trafficking Girls And Women
The singer has been arrested on U.S. federal sex trafficking charges dating back 20 years, including kidnapping girls for sex and buying their silence.
Robert Kelly, already charged with sexual assault in Illinois, has been indicted in federal courts in New York and Chicago with transporting women and girls across state lines for sex, forcibly keeping them under his control and buying their silence.
In indictments unsealed in Brooklyn and Chicago on Friday, federal prosecutors said Kelly, 52, ran a racketeering and human trafficking scheme that required the women and girls to be obedient, call him "Daddy" and ask permission to eat or use the bathroom.
"The purposes of the enterprise were to promote R. Kelly's music and the R. Kelly brand and to recruit women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with Kelly," prosecutors said in the Brooklyn indictment.
Kelly, who was free on bond in the Illinois state case, was taken into custody again by New York City police detectives and federal agents on Thursday evening as he walked his dog in Chicago, his lawyer Steve Greenberg said.
The R&B singer made a brief court appearance in US District Court in Chicago on Friday and was ordered back on Monday for further proceedings.
Greenberg said in a statement posted to Twitter that the federal charges mostly stem from conduct that is "decades old" and already part of the state case or previous allegations that Kelly had been acquitted of.
The five-count Brooklyn racketeering indictment includes multiple allegations going back to 1999, including sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping and forced labour.
Under the alleged scheme, Kelly and his entourage would invite women and girls backstage after concerts, isolate them from friends and family, and make them dependent on him for their financial well-being.
Chicago prosecutors charged in their 13-count indictment that Kelly had sexual contact with five minors, recorded videos of some of them and paid them off to buy their silence.
Last month, Kelly pleaded not guilty to 11 new state felony counts of sexual assault and abuse at a separate Cook County, Illinois, court hearing, after prosecutors expanded an indictment against him.
A TIMELINE OF ABUSE ALLEGATIONS
In 1994, the R&B star was 27 when he tied the knot with his protege Aaliyah Haughton, 15. The marriage was later annulled.
Two years later, another woman, Tiffany Hawkins, sued Kelly and his recording and management companies, alleging she suffered personal injuries and emotional harm because she had sex with the singer in 1991, when she was 15.
Over the next two years, Kelly settled three more cases out of court but denied wrongdoing.
Fast forward to 2002, when Kelly was indicted on 21 counts of child pornography. The singer was accused based on a videotape allegedly showing him having sex with a 14-year-old girl. After a delay of five years, Kelly was acquitted on all counts in June 2008, after less than a full day of deliberations.
In July 2017, BuzzFeed reported Kelly lured women into “cult-like” relationships. The website reported Kelly was keeping women aged 18 to 31 in properties in Chicago and Georgia, where he abused and secluded them from their families. No charges resulted because the women were of legal age.
Last year, Andrea Kelly, Kelly’s ex-wife and mother of his three children, said in a TV interview the singer abused her throughout their 13-year marriage. Married to Kelly from 1996 to 2009, she said she was speaking out to save lives and bring validity to other women’s stories of alleged abuse.
In January this year, the Lifetime docu-series Surviving R. Kelly aired. It featured first-hand accounts of years of alleged abuse against young girls and women by Kelly. The following month, Kelly was charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse involving four victims, including at least three between the ages of 13 and 17.
In May, Cook County prosecutors added 11 more sex-related counts, involving one of the victims who accused him of abusing her when she was underage.
This week, prosecutors in Illinois and New York charged Kelly in federal court, accusing him and members of his entourage of recruiting women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with the singer and paying them to cover up his crimes.