Music mogul Robert Kelly was indicted Feb. 22 on 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse. The Class 2 felony involves four alleged victims including at least three young women between the ages of 13 and 18. The announcement was made in a press conference by Cook County State’s Attorney, Kim Foxx.
The charging documents contained allegations of abuse that dated back to 1998. The indictments revealed specific incidents that took place in 2003, according to The Associated Press (AP).
This comes just seven weeks after the premiere of “Surviving R. Kelly,” a six-part docuseries on Lifetime TV. The program revealed an inside look into Kelly’s life that partially confirmed decades of lurid rumors that made Kelly a public enemy to the #MeToo movement. The public came together in the name of activism to support the #MuteRKelly campaign to stop his music from being played. Activists demanded that promotors not book Kelly for any future gigs and led to a protest outside his Chicago recording studio, according to AP.
Over the years, Kelly denied all claims of sexual misconduct. In 2008, he was acquitted on child pornography charges based on an explicit video that prosecutors said showed a sexual encounter between Kelly and a girl as young as 13. Contrary to the video, and confirmation by witnesses, both Kelly and the young girl denied they were the people in the 27-minute video. Had Kelly not been acquitted, he could have faced 15 years in prison. Many people speculated that the victim’s silence was the result of manipulation – the very manipulation that would later be disclosed in the Lifetime docuseries.
In the indictment, the prosecution addressed the question of the statute of limitations. It outlined how Kelly could be prosecuted under Illinois law, although the alleged crimes happened as far back as two decades earlier, according to AP.
Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenburg, believes his client was victimized in the docuseries. Greenburg said he believed that Kelly, “never knowingly had sex with an underage woman. He never forced anyone to do anything. He never held anyone captive. He never abused anyone.”
For more than two decades, Kelly has been trailed by allegations of sexual misconduct. Renewed secutiny came after attorney Michael Avenatti said he received yet another video showing Kelly engaging in sexual acts with a 14-year old girl, which he turned over to the Cook County State Attorney’s Office in Chicago. Avenatti said Kelly and the girl refer to the girl’s age multiple times in the 40-minute video – a striking detail that seemed to confirm claims of statutory rape.
A person convicted of aggravated criminal sexual abuse can carry a sentence of between three and seven years in prison under Illinois law, according to AP.
At press time, a warrant has been issued for Kelly’s arrest, according to Chicago police. Kelly is set to appear in court Feb. 24 for a bail hearing.