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Updated on March 29, 2023 6:04 am

R. Kelly: The historical past of allegations towards him

By Mark Savage
BBC Music reporter

R KellyPicture supply, Getty Pictures
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R Kelly has confronted accusations of sexual misconduct for the reason that Nineteen Nineties

For greater than 20 years, chart-topping R&B singer R. Kelly had confronted allegations of sexual abuse.

The accounts went again to the beginning of his profession within the Nineteen Nineties, with many centring on the predatory pursuit of teenage ladies.

In September 2021, he was discovered responsible of eight counts of intercourse trafficking and certainly one of racketeering in a New York court docket, and now faces a prolonged jail sentence.

The singer – whose actual title is Robert Sylvester Kelly – is individually dealing with trial in Chicago on youngster intercourse photos and obstruction fees. He’s additionally attributable to face intercourse abuse fees in Illinois and Minnesota.

Kelly was himself the sufferer of kid intercourse abuse, and detailed in his autobiography how he was raped by a female relative when he was eight years previous.

Here’s a historical past of the accusations towards him.

1994: Marries Aaliyah

Kelly, then aged 27, wed 15-year-old singer Aaliyah at a secret ceremony in Chicago.

Vibe journal later found Aaliyah had lied about her age on the marriage certificates, itemizing herself as 18. The wedding was annulled in February 1995.

A former tour supervisor for Kelly testified at his trial that he bribed a authorities employee in 1994 to acquire a faux ID for Aaliyah – so the singers may marry.

For the remainder of her profession, Aaliyah dodged questions in regards to the nature of her relationship. “When folks ask me, I inform them, ‘Hey, do not consider all that mess,'” she informed one interviewer. “We’re shut and other people took it the fallacious approach.”

Picture supply, Getty Pictures
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Kelly wrote and produced Aaliyah’s debut album, calling it Age Ain’t Nothing However A Quantity

Kelly hardly ever spoke about Aaliyah after she died in a aircraft crash in 2001. She shouldn’t be talked about in his autobiography, the place an writer’s word explains “sure episodes couldn’t be included for sophisticated causes”.

In a 2016 interview with GQ journal, he described their relationship as “greatest, greatest, greatest, greatest mates”, however declined to touch upon their marriage, saying: “I’ll by no means have that dialog with anybody. Out of respect for Aaliyah, and her mom and father who’ve requested me to not personally.”

1996: Sued for emotional misery

Tiffany Hawkins sued R. Kelly for the “private accidents and emotional misery” she suffered throughout a three-year relationship with the star.

In court docket paperwork, she mentioned she started having intercourse with Kelly in 1991, when she was 15 and he was 24, and the connection ended when she turned 18. In line with the Chicago Solar Instances, Ms Hawkins sought $10m in damages however accepted a fraction of that quantity ($250,000) when the case was settled in 1998.

Kelly’s spokeswoman mentioned she had “no data” of the accusations.

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Kelly continued to launch profitable songs, and win main awards, as accusations collected round him

2001: Sued by intern

Tracy Sampson sued R. Kelly, accusing him of inducing her “into an indecent sexual relationship” when she was 17.

The lady, a former intern at Epic Data, mentioned she was “handled as his private intercourse object and solid apart”.

“He usually tried to manage each facet of my life together with who I might see and the place I might go,” she mentioned. The case was settled out of court docket for an undisclosed sum, in accordance with the New York Put up.

April/Might 2002: Two extra court docket circumstances

Kelly is sued by Patrice Jones, a Chicago lady who claimed he impregnated her when she was below age, and that she was compelled to have an abortion.

Montina Woods additionally sued Kelly, alleging that he videotaped them having intercourse with out her data. The recording was allegedly circulated on a “intercourse tape” offered by bootleggers below the title R. Kelly Triple-X.

The singer settled each circumstances out of court docket, paying undisclosed sums in return for non-disclosure agreements.

June 2002: Charged over youngster abuse movies

He’s charged with 21 counts of creating youngster sexual abuse movies involving varied sexual acts.

Chicago police accused him of taping the acts and attractive a minor to take part in them. All the fees associated to 1 lady, born in September 1984.

His arrest stemmed from a video that was despatched anonymously to the Chicago Solar Instances earlier within the 12 months. They handed it on to police, who verified its authenticity with assist from FBI forensic consultants.

Kelly, who posted $750,000 bail, instantly denied the fees in an interview with MTV and later pleaded not responsible in court docket.

It took six years for the case to come back to trial, throughout which era Kelly launched his wildly profitable Trapped In The Closet album and was nominated for an Picture Award by the NAACP (Nationwide Affiliation for the Development of Coloured Individuals), prompting widespread criticism.

The jury finally concluded they may not show that the lady on the tape was a minor, and Kelly was discovered not responsible on all counts.

2002-2004: Arrest prompts additional fees

Kelly was charged with an additional 12 counts of manufacturing youngster sexual abuse photos in Florida, the place he was arrested at his vacation dwelling.

These fees got here after police seized a digicam through the arrest, which allegedly contained photos of him having intercourse with an underage lady.

The fees had been dropped when a choose agreed with Kelly’s defence group that police lacked adequate proof to justify a search.

2017: Allegations of a “cult”

A protracted and detailed Buzzfeed report accused R. Kelly of trapping six ladies in a intercourse “cult”.

The article alleged that Kelly seduced younger ladies after they approached him for assist with their music careers, earlier than taking management of their lives – dictating “what they eat, how they costume, after they bathe, after they sleep, and the way they interact in sexual encounters that he information”.

Kelly additionally confiscated the ladies’s cellphones, the report mentioned, barring contact with family and friends.

The allegations got here from three former staff and the dad and mom of a number of ladies, who mentioned their daughters had all however vanished.

2017-2018: Victims strategy the press

Buzzfeed’s report prompted additional allegations.

Jerhonda Tempo broke a non-disclosure settlement to discuss having intercourse with Kelly whereas she was underage. One other lady, Kitti Jones, claimed the star starved her, coerced her into sexual encounters with different ladies and bodily abused her. Ms Tempo would go on to testify towards Kelly within the 2021 trial.

Ms Kitti, together with different members of R. Kelly’s internal circle, additionally spoke to a BBC Three documentary in March 2018. One former pal and collaborator, Lovell Jones, mentioned Kelly requested him to scout out ladies “that appeared younger” at events, and claimed that it was “frequent data” that the singer most popular younger ladies.

2018: #MuteRKelly, employees departures and new court docket case

The #MuteRKelly marketing campaign lobbied document label RCA to sever ties with the singer. In addition they focused live performance promoters, ticket sellers and streaming companies – with Spotify, Apple Music and Pandora all agreeing to demote Kelly’s songs from their playlists (a choice that was later reversed).

Across the identical time, the star’s lawyer, publicist and private assistant all give up – though lawyer Linda Mensch mentioned her departure was “unrelated to any allegations associated to Mr Kelly’s social life”.

Kelly continued to carry out stay regardless of protests exterior his exhibits, and was filmed saying the marketing campaign towards him was “too late”.

“Solely God can mute me,” he sang defiantly on a tune referred to as I Admit. “Am I imagined to go to jail or lose my profession due to your opinion?”

In the meantime, the star was sued by a former accomplice who mentioned he “deliberately” contaminated her with a sexually transmitted illness.

2019: New documentary results in fees

Over the course of six hour-long episodes, Lifetime documentary Surviving R. Kelly introduced essentially the most complete look but on the allegations towards the musician.

Two weeks after the programme was broadcast, Kelly was dropped by his document firm. Deliberate concert events within the US and New Zealand had been cancelled.

In February, celeb lawyer Michael Avenatti mentioned he had obtained a video displaying Kelly having intercourse with a 14-year-old lady. Weeks later, Kelly was charged in Chicago with 10 counts of aggravated felony sexual abuse. He pleaded not responsible and gave a histrionic TV interview.

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R. Kelly in tearful intercourse abuse fees interview

Prosecutors later filed a further 11 fees of sexual assault and abuse towards a minor aged between 13 and 16.

The charging paperwork described intercourse and oral intercourse with a minor “by means of drive or risk of drive”. The accuser was considered one of many ladies featured in Surviving R. Kelly, who mentioned she met the singer throughout a earlier trial.

July 2019: Intercourse Trafficking fees

Picture supply, Reuters
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R. Kelly seems for a listening to at Leighton Felony Courtroom Constructing in Chicago, Illinois

Kelly was hit with two separate federal indictments in Illinois and Brooklyn.

Mixed, the allegations depicted an organised effort from the singer and his associates to recruit and transport underage ladies over state strains for unlawful sexual functions, together with the manufacturing of kid intercourse abuse photos, in addition to conspiracy to hinder justice by destroying proof and bribing or threatening witnesses.

August 2019: Prostitution fees

Prosecutors in Minnesota filed prostitution fees towards R. Kelly, which means he confronted felony circumstances in three US states.

He was accused of soliciting a youngster who requested him for an autograph in 2001. Kelly allegedly invited the 17-year-old to his resort room and supplied her $200 (£164) to undress and dance with him.

Kelly’s lawyer mentioned the fees had been “past absurd”.

Picture supply, Getty Pictures
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R. Kelly in court docket in September 2019

August-September 2020: Jail assault

In the direction of the top of August, Kelly was attacked in his sleep by a fellow inmate in Chicago’s Metropolitan Correctional Centre.

His lawyer referred to as for his fast launch, saying “the federal government can’t guarantee his security”. Nevertheless, the request – together with quite a few different makes an attempt to get Kelly launched on bail – was denied.

August 2021: Aaliyah relationship confirmed

Within the final pre-trial listening to earlier than Kelly’s trial, US District Decide Ann M Donnelly made a sequence of rulings to slender down what proof could possibly be proven to jurors.

Throughout the listening to, she requested one of many singer’s legal professionals whether or not they denied the star had sexual relations with Aaliyah whereas she was underage.

In line with the Related Press, Thomas A Farinella “let loose a deep sigh and responded, ‘No.'”

August-September 2021: Trial and responsible verdict

The trial started on 18 August in New York.

Learn extra in regards to the trial:

On 27 September, following two days of deliberation, the jury discovered R. Kelly responsible on all 9 counts.

Gloria Allred, a lawyer who represented a number of victims, informed reporters: “I have been practising regulation for 47 years. Throughout this time, I’ve pursued many sexual predators who’ve dedicated crimes towards ladies and youngsters.

“Of all of the predators that I’ve pursued, Mr Kelly is the worst.”

November 2021: Witness intimidation

A person was sentenced to eight years in jail after intimidating a witness earlier than Kelly’s New York trial.

In June 2020, Michael Williams set fireplace to a automobile belonging to the daddy of a witness who was attributable to testify with a view to “stop the victim-witness from persevering with to co-operate”, in accordance an announcement from the lawyer’s workplace in New York.

“Williams tried to make use of violence and intimidation to divert the course of justice and stop a sufferer’s voice from being heard,” they mentioned.

June 2022: New York sentencing

Sentencing for Kelly’s New York conviction is due on Wednesday, 29 June, and the disgraced 55-year-old will find yourself spending a minimal of 10 years and a most of life behind bars.

Prosecutors advisable at the least 25 years, saying he confirmed a “callous disregard” for his victims and no regret.

“Certainly, the defendant’s many years of crime seem to have been fuelled by narcissism and a perception that his musical expertise absolved him of any want to evolve his conduct – irrespective of how predatory, dangerous, humiliating or abusive to others – to the strictures of the regulation,” they mentioned.


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