On Thursday evening in Chicago, while outside walking his dog and partaking in a cigarette, R&B singer R. Kelly was arrested by New York police detectives and investigators from the Department of Homeland Security.
Earlier that day, a 13-count federal indictment came down in federal court of the Northern District of Illinois. A spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Chicago, Joseph Fitzpatrick, told the Associated Press that the charges “include child porn, enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice.”
Kelly also received a 5-count indictment in Brooklyn for separate charges with no overlapping victims. Those charges include racketeering and federal kidnapping.
During a subsequent press conference in Atlanta held by Kelly’s publicist and crisis manager Darnell Johnson, the family of Joycelyn Savage interrupted the proceedings when they stormed up to the Johnson demanding to know where their daughter was. For months, Savage’s parents have been sounding the alarm about their daughter’s relationship with the singer, alleging that the 23-year-old woman has been “brainwashed and held against her will.” (According to a video supposedly released by Savage, she claims that — despite appearances — she’s with Kelly of her own volition.)
But it was years of mounting concern from parents just like Savage’s that led to several investigatory efforts and a groundbreaking documentary series, Surviving R Kelly. In that series, parents of “missing” women and girls and former “girlfriends” of Kelly’s speak frankly about the situation at hand: They believe that the singer is grooming and psychologically manipulating these young women and girls. Moreover, court documents allege that Kelly has made a practice of using his entourage to recruit young women and girls at concerts for the purpose of coercing them into participating in illegal and under-aged sexual acts.
Kelly has long been a subject of such scrutiny, dating back to 1998, when a video surfaced that depicted Kelly engaging in sexual acts with a 13-year-old girl. Kelly maintained his innocence in the 1998 case and the alleged victim, who never testified, claimed it wasn’t her in the video.
In the wake of the release of Surviving R. Kelly, a rep for the singer offered complaints on the his behalf, arguing that Kelly had a right to be left alone and enjoy his private life. But the singer has used the very same aspects of that increasingly troubling private life as a vehicle for his own self-enrichment.
Kelly was famously romantically linked to the now-deceased singer, Aaliyah, during the mid-1990s when she was a teenager. The pair — who collaborated on her debut album together forebodingly titled, “Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number” — were reportedly secretly married despite the fact that Aaliyah was only 15 years old. Subsequent reports state that the teenager’s parents annulled the marriage in 1995; Kelly and Aaliyah would continue to deny that the nuptials occurred.
In 2018, Kelly made his most brash attempt to cash in on his infamy, releasing, “I Admit.” The 19-minute-long song, which contains no confessions of criminal wrongdoing despite the fact that the phrase “I admit it, I did it” repeats throughout, is an overindulgent response to both critics and those who participated in investigations of alleged sexual abuse.
A bail hearing for Kelly is planned for early next week.