R. Kelly charged with sexually abusing 4 victims, at least 3 of them minors

The embattled R&B was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. He is expected to appear in bond court Saturday — one day after Cook County prosecutors alleged in an explosive indictment filed Friday that the abuse involved four victims, at least three of them minors, from 1998 to 2010.

Kelly was expected to surrender to police Friday night.

The minors were between 13 and 16, prosecutors said. Kelly is 51.

Prosecutors appeared before Judge Dennis Porter Friday, who approved a no-bail warrant for Kelly, records show.

At a news conference Friday, Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx briefly went through the charges against Kelly. Each count is a Class 2 felony, each of which can be punished by three to seven years in prison or as little as probation.

Foxx answered no questions at the news conference.

Kelly’s attorney, Steven Greenberg, said before Foxx’s news conference that he had not been notified his client had been charged. Later Friday afternoon, Greenberg told reporters outside R. Kelly’s Near West Side studio that Kelly would be cleared.

“He’s going to go to bond court, and he’s gonna get out,” he said. “They’re making him a sacrificial lamb for their own sake and there’s no merit to any of this.”

Kelly has been dogged by allegations of sexual impropriety for two decades, charges that were first detailed by the Chicago Sun-Times. The indictment on Friday marks the first time he has been charged with any crimes since he was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008 in a case that received international attention.

In the 36-page indictment, prosecutors outline a variety of alleged sexual misconduct. The victims are identified only by their initials.

In one instance, Kelly allegedly ejaculated on the victim’s body “for the purpose of Robert Kelly’s or L.C.’s sexual gratification or arousal,” the indictment says.

In the three other instances, the victims performed oral sex on Kelly, the document says.

Michael Avenatti, a well-known attorney, said he recently provided a videotape to the Cook County state’s attorney’s office; the tape showed R. Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl. At a news conference in Chicago Friday afternoon, Avenatti that he is representing at least one of the girls that were included in the indictment handed down.

He declined to identify his client, who he said was a minor at the time of the alleged abuse. He also declined to say what his client told a grand jury investigating the singer.

“Today marks a watershed movement in the 25 years of abuse by this predator, R. Kelly,” Avenatti said.

He said R. Kelly was able to get away with the alleged abuse for years because the victims were girls who weren’t listened to and weren’t valued.

“These were the most vulnerable, yet this predator, Mr. Kelly, preyed on them,” he said.

And he ripped Kelly’s “enablers” — agents, bodyguards and other workers for Kelly — who “turned a blind eye while this occurred over two decades.”

Avenatti said he turned over a 40-minute video shot in 1999 at R. Kelly’s residence at the time; it allegedly showed the singer having sex with a teen girl. He did not say whether the video was part of the evidence used to indict Kelly.

“Repeatedly on the video, both the victim and Mr. Kelly refer to the victim’s age as being 14,” he said. He added: “This was in no way role playing. … It is clear that this young lady was 14 years of age during the time when it was shot.”

Asked if he had a message to R. Kelly, Avenatti said:

“It is high-time that you face justice for the conduct you have engaged in for over two decades and don’t count on getting out of prison,” he said.

Shortly before the press conference started, Avenatti tweeted out photos purportedly taken from the tape. In one photo, a superimposed arrow points to a mole on a man’s back.

When Kelly stood trial in 2008, his attorneys argued that he could not have been the man in the now-infamous video because there was no visible mole on that person’s back.

The new charges against Kelly come less than two months after Foxx made a public plea for new Kelly accusers to come forward so that the office could investigate. Foxx said she was “sickened” by the accounts described in the “Surviving R. Kelly” Lifetime television series. The Sun-Times reported that at least two women came forward after Foxx made her plea, although one later said she had declined to press charges.

A Sun-Times reporter told one of the women of Kelly’s criminal charges Friday afternoon, to which she replied: “Awesome. Thank God. That’s a blessing. I’m so happy.”

Several media outlets have reported that Kelly is also under federal investigation as well as under investigation in other cities.

Former Sun-Times reporter Jim DeRogatis reported Thursday that the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the Southern and Eastern districts of New York, along with the FBI and Department of Homeland Security, were investigating Kelly. Representatives for the federal offices could not be reached for comment Friday.

Another investigation by officials in Fulton County, Georgia is also active, though a representative for Fulton County prosecutor’s office said there was “no update” on the investigation as of Friday afternoon.

Gerald Griggs, an attorney for the family of Joycelyn Savage — one of the women featured in “Surviving R. Kelly” — told the Sun-Times that the FBI had been in recent contact with Savage’s family.

Griggs tweeted Friday: “After two years of extensive work, investigation, and a lot of prayer, my clients are hopeful that the recent charges against Robert Sylvester Kelly will lead to justice. We are ready to travel to Chicago to reunite the Savage family with #JoycelynSavage.”

The charges filed Friday are markedly different from those Kelly faced in 2002, when he was indicted for 21 counts of child pornography — and those differences are significant for the singer.

The child porn charges Kelly faced at trial more than a decade ago were based on a video of Kelly having sex with a girl prosecutors said was as young as 13 at the time the tape was filmed. But the prosecution faltered because the alleged victim in that case and her parents would not cooperate with investigators, and at trial, the girl’s parents denied their daughter was the girl on the tape.

Prosecutors so far have given little information about the evidence that was used for the charges announced Friday.

The charges filed Friday are felonies, but would seem to involve sex acts — specifically, sexual penetration of the allegedly underage victims’ mouths and sex organs — that could have led to more serious counts, including sexual assault or statutory rape. Avenatti on Friday said the charges were “conservative,” but praised prosecutors for a “well thought-out” indictment.

source: chicago.suntimes

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