A judge in Chicago on Saturday set bail at $1 million for R&B singer R. Kelly, one day after his arrest for aggravated criminal sexual abuse and other charges.
The Chicago Tribune reported that Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke, Jr. set bond at $250,000 for each of four sex abuse indictments. Three of the cases dealt with the sex abuse of underage victims.
Kelly turned himself in to Chicago police late Friday after officials in Cook County, Illinois, announced that he had been indicted.
The charges against him, according to Cook County State Attorney Kim Foxx, concern alleged criminal sexual acts spanning from 1998 to 2010. Foxx said they involve four alleged victims, including three minors between 13 and 16 years old.
If convicted of all the counts he faces — which are class two felonies — Kelly, 52, could face up to 70 years in prison.
In addition to setting. the $1 million bond, the court on Saturday said it would confiscate Kelly’s passport, and forbade him from having contact with his alleged victims, the Chicago Tribune reported. He also has been barred from having any contact with anyone under the age of 18.
His lawyer, who maintains Kelly’s innocence, has called his accusers’ integrity into question. “I think all the women are lying,” attorney Steve Greenberg told reporters on Friday.
Appearing on CNN just hours later, one of the women who says that R. Kelly preyed on her when she was a minor responded directly to this line of defense.
“I can’t speak out for everyone else, but I know I’m not lying,” Lisa Van Allen, who met Kelly on a music set when she was 17 years old, told CNN on Saturday. “For him to say everyone is lying is a lie.”
Kelly has faced allegations of sexual violence and predation for the past two decades. As early as 2000, a story in The Chicago Sun-Times reported evidence that Kelly had leveraged his position of fame and power to prey on underage girls. Since then, allegations of Kelly’s abuse against young, black girls have continued to pile up as his music career continued uninterrupted.
Explosive news stories detailing Kelly’s alleged emotional and physical abuse have periodically brought the allegations against the singer back into the national spotlight, eventually sparking some pushback in the form of a #MuteRKelly movement to boycott his work.
Momentum against the R&B artist dramatically picked up early this year, after the blockbuster Surviving R. Kelly documentary, featuring the stories of several women who say they are Kelly’s victims, premiered in January. The six-part series prompted increased public pressure — most notably, RCA Records’ decision to drop the artist following considerable outcry — and led to criminal investigations in Chicago and Atlanta.
The documentary reached tens of millions of people in its first few days on the air, and has been credited with creating a tipping point for an artist who has long been seen as untouchable, despite the scandal swirling around him.
“I just think now in the society, you can’t ignore it. Before, they could turn a blind eye but now they can’t. Because it’s too much in your face,” Tamera Simmons, the executive producer of Surviving R. Kelly, said during a CNN appearance on Saturday in the wake of news of Kelly’s arrest in Chicago.
“Are we as a society going to continue to allow this to happen for 30 more years?”
This post was updated following the bail hearing for R. Kelly.