July 16, 2024
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R&B superstar R. Kelly’s notorious history of sex allegations and convictions

Robert Sylvester Kelly, better known as R. Kelly, is credited with redefining the R&B and hip-hop music genres. The 1996 hit ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ got him three Grammy Awards, and he was featured on the soundtrack of the film ‘Space Jam’. Kelly is regarded as one of the most influential R&B artists of his generation, having written and produced music for many artists, including Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and Aaliyah. 

However, the singing superstar was convicted by a federal jury last year on charges of sex trafficking and using his stardom and wealth to lure young girls, women, and boys for his own sexual gratification. 

The 55-year-old has been in jail since 2019 without bail. He was sentenced by the Brooklyn federal court on Wednesday. Let’s see the history of all the accusations against the once-shining star.

Bribery charges related to the marriage with singer Aaliyah

R. Kelly married 15-year-old singer Aaliyah when he was 27, in a secret ceremony in Chicago. Later, it was discovered that Aaliyah and Kelly lied about her age on the wedding certificate, declaring herself to be 18 years old. Their marriage was annulled in February 1995. A former tour manager of Kelly, while testifying, said that the singer in 1994 bribed a government worker to obtain a fake ID for Aaliyah so that the singer could marry. 

For the rest of her career, Aaliyah avoided questions regarding the nature of her relationship with Kelly. In an interview, she said, “When people ask me, I tell them, ‘Hey, don’t believe all that mess. We’re close and people took it the wrong way.” Kelly, too, declined commenting on their marriage. 

Kelly sued for causing emotional distress in 1996 

Tiffany Hawkins was the first woman who spoke against the singer. Hawkins was a young aspiring singer when she met R. Kelly at age 15 in Chicago. In her case statement, she said Kelly brought “personal injuries and emotional distress” on her and that she suffered a lot with the artist when they were in a relationship. 

In her court filings, she claimed that her relationship with Kelly stopped when she turned 18 years old. They first had intercourse in 1991, when she was 15 and he was 24. As per The Chicago Sun Times, Ms Hawkins sought $10 million in damages but only agreed to accept $250,000 when the case was resolved in 1998. 

Two more court cases against Kelly in April-May 2002

Patrice Jones, a Chicago resident, sued Kelly for forcing her to undergo an abortion as a result of an unplanned pregnancy with her. Montina Woods filed a lawsuit against Kelly as well, claiming that he secretly taped them having sex. The video reportedly appeared on a “sex tape” called R. Kelly Triple-X that was sold by bootleggers.

The celebrity paid unspecified amounts in exchange for non-disclosure agreements in order to resolve both cases outside of court.

Kelly’s victims approached the press in 2017-2018

Reports against Kelly in the press prompted more victims to come forward against the singer. Jerhonda Pace went on to speak about having sex with Kelly when she was underage. Another woman named Kitti Jones alleged that the singer starved her, forced her into sex with other women, and physically abused her. Ms. Pace testified against Kelly in the 2021 trial. 

In March 2018, Ms. Kitti and other associates of R. Kelly gave their comments for a BBC Three documentary. Lovell Jones, a former friend and collaborator, alleged that Kelly requested him to hunt for ladies at parties “who appeared young” and that it was “common knowledge” that the singer preferred young girls.

Kelly charged over child abuse videos in June 2002

The R&B star is charged with 21 counts of producing recordings depicting different sex acts of child abuse. Chicago police charged him with filming the actions and persuading a youngster to take part in them. Allegations centre around a single girl who was born in September 1984. He was arrested on account of a video submitted to the Chicago Sun Times in an unidentified manner earlier that year. The news outlet handed over the information to the police, who used assistance from FBI forensic specialists to confirm its validity.

As soon as the allegations were brought forward, Kelly secured $750,000 bail and entered a not guilty plea in court. In an interview with MTV, he claimed he was innocent.

The case was not tried for six years, during which time Kelly’s Trapped In The Closet album became popular and was criticised for being nominated for an Image Award by the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People). In the end, the jury could not establish that the girl in the film was a minor, and Kelly was found not guilty on all counts.

Kelly’s arrest led to additional charges in 2002-2004

Kelly was arrested at his vacation home in Florida and charged with 12 more counts of creating photographs depicting child sexual assault. These charges were made after investigators reportedly found pictures of the superstar having sex with a minor girl on a camera seized during the arrest.

The charges were withdrawn after the court agreed with Kelly’s defence team that police lacked sufficient evidence for a search and seizure.

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