R&B singer R. Kelly, who has been accused of sexual misconduct for decades, has been charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, according to an indictment filed Friday. The charges involve four victims, three of whom were between age 13 and 16.
According to the Associated Press, a Chicago judge has issued a no-bail arrest warrant for the singer.
The singer has come under intense scrutiny since Lifetime aired a widely watched docuseries last month, called “Surviving R. Kelly,” that took a sweeping look at years of sexual misconduct allegations against the singer. Following the television program, Illinois Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx made a public plea asking for any potential witnesses or victims related to claims against Kelly to come forward.
“There is nothing to be done to investigate these allegations without the cooperation of both victims and witnesses,” Foxx said at a news conference in January. “We cannot seek justice without you.”
Kelly, who has long denied wrongdoing, faced trial in 2008 on several counts of child pornography and was acquitted.
Last week, lawyer Michael Avenatti said he had turned over to Foxx’s office a VHS tape that allegedly shows Kelly engaging in sexual activity with a minor. The depicted acts were within Illinois’ statute of limitations, according to Avenatti, who wrote on Twitter Friday that “the day of reckoning for R Kelly has arrived.” Avenatti also announced he will be holding a news conference in Chicago at 5 p.m. Eastern.
On Thursday, two women accused Kelly of sexual misconduct in a news conference with their lawyer, Gloria Allred. The prominent women’s rights attorney, who told The Washington Post last week that she had contacted law enforcement about the tape because she believed the alleged victim may be a client of hers, has said she is representing several women who allege sexual abuse by Kelly.
“The days of running and hiding his victimization of women from the criminal justice system have now come to an end for R. Kelly,” she said in the statement.
Last year, The Post’s Geoff Edgers reported that decades of overlooking the singer’s alleged behavior “played out on many levels, from the billionaire record executive who first signed the dynamic young vocalist in the early 1990s to the low-paid assistants who arranged flights, food and bathroom breaks for his traveling entourage of young women.”
Kelly illegally married his 15-year-old protege Aaliyah in 1994, when he was 27. Edgers wrote that their marriage, which was annulled the following year, became part of a “culture of open secrets and official avoidance” around the singer and his alleged actions.