Few allegations are more incendiary than sex offenses involving minors. For R. Kelly, a decades-long history of rumors, accusations and quietly settled lawsuits finally came to a head, culminating in serious criminal charges. But before charges were even filed, the R&B singer-songwriter’s career – and reputation – were in ruins.
Kelly currently faces 10 felony counts of aggravated criminal sex abuse involving minors in Cook County, Illinois. Further charges may be forthcoming in New York and Atlanta. And according to some sources, the Department of Homeland Security is investigating allegations that Kelly transported underage girls across state lines.
Kelly is no stranger to legal troubles. In the mid-90s, at age 27, he married up-and-coming singer Aaliyah, who was only 15 at the time. He’s faced various charges of assault and disorderly conduct over the years and has settled several civil lawsuits brought by women accusing him of abuse. In 2008, he stood trial for child pornography charges involving a video of sex acts with an underage girl. He was acquitted.
The latest round of charges comes not long after the explosive “Surviving R. Kelly” docu-series aired on Lifetime in January. Across six episodes, multiple women – including Kelly’s ex-wife – describe a pattern of abuse, often involving sex with underage girls.
Earlier this month, Kelly himself responded in an equally explosive interview with CBS’s Gayle King. He vehemently and emotionally denied the allegations, yelling, crying, and nearly walking off set.
Meanwhile, two of the young women who live with Kelly have disputed allegations that they’re being held against their will. Both have defended Kelly and denied being “brainwashed.”