R. Kelly has been charged by Chicago prosecutors with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, the Chicago Sun-Times reports. The charges involve four victims, at least three of them minors, who prosecutors allege R. Kelly abused during incidents that took place between 1998 and 2010.
Kelly has never before been convicted on assault charges. He was acquitted of 14 counts of child pornography charges in 2008. A no-bail arrest warrant was issued by a Cook County judge this morning and he is due in court in Illinois on March 8.
The R&B star long seemed impenetrable to the numerous misconduct allegations that have trailed him for decades. Over the past several months, a social media campaign tagged #MuteRKelly inspired by the dream hampton Lifetime documentary Surviving R. Kelly, released in January, successfully resulted in Kelly being dropped by his label. Despite the campaign's cultural impacts, it was unclear if this recent momentum would end in new legal action.
On Thursday (February 21), according to the New York Times, two new victims represented by Gloria Allred, Latresa Scaff, 40, and Rochelle Washington, 39 came forward at a New York press conference. Scaff and Washington allege that in the mid-90's, they met the singer after a concert when they were 16 and 15 respectively. R. Kelly allegedly asked them to have a threesome, gave them drugs and alcohol, and had sex with Scaff.
Last week, well-known attorney Michael Avenatti shared that he was in possession of a previously undisclosed video of R. Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl, which he said he had provided to the Cook County state attorney's office. A day later CNN reporters who say they viewed the tape said that it shows a man who"appears to be R. Kelly... performing multiple sex acts with the girl." Kelly allegedly states the girls' age in the video, referring to her "14-year-old p***y."
R. Kelly continues to deny all allegations of sexual misconduct. When the recent video surfaced, Kelly's attorney Steve Greenberg stated that "Mr. Kelly denies that he has engaged in any illegal conduct, of any kind whatsoever,"
At a press conference today in Chicago, Cook County attorney Kimberly Foxx discussed the charges in detail, saying her office anticipates that Kelly will appear in bond court tomorrow (February 23). Watch the full press conference here.
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