Friday, R&B star and alleged serial sexual predator Kelly was charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Cook County, lllinois the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
The charges against Kelly span from 1998 to 2010 and involve four victims, at least three of whom were minors between 13 and 16 years old, prosecutors allege. A Cook County judge has approved a no-bail arrest warrant for Kelly.
Kelly has consistently denied all allegations of non-consensual sex.
Kelly has long been accused of sexual violence and predation, beginning with a story broken by the Sun-Times that ran on December 21, 2000. That front-page account began like so: “Chicago singer and songwriter R. Kelly used his position of fame and influence as a pop superstar to meet girls as young as 15 and have sex with them, according to court records and interviews.”
Further allegations followed, along with a controversial, though not career-derailing, marriage to a then-underage Aaliyah (her age was falsified on the marriage certificate; their union was quickly annulled). Kelly was later indicted on child pornography charges in a case that took six years to go to trial, and was eventually acquitted when the victim and her parents declined to testify.
Through the years, hit singles and credible allegations continued to pile up: Kelly has reportedly been sexually, physically, mentally, and emotionally abusing women and girls as young as 15 for decades; silencing his alleged victims with intimidation, blackmail, payouts, and non-disclosure agreements for the duration of his career. Kelly continued to thrive as a musician, dodging any professional consequences for his allegedly criminal and horrifying personal misconduct.
Within the past two years, stories in BuzzFeed and the New Yorker (reported by Jim DeRogatis, one-half of the original Sun-Times reporting team that broke the Kelly story back in 2000) have detailed gruesome claims that Kelly is keeping several young women in cult-like conditions against their will at his homes, women whose parents have been trying and failing to contact for years. That reporting, along with the rising #MeToo tides, sparked the #MuteRKelly movement, which in turn led to a Lifetime docuseries, Surviving R. Kelly, that premiered this January.
Surviving R. Kelly was a blockbuster, reaching 18.8 million viewers in its first few days on the air. In its wake, criminal investigations into Kelly were opened in Chicago and Atlanta. A handful of radio stations pulled Kelly’s songs from their airwaves, and a number of musicians who’d recently worked with Kelly, including Lady Gaga, released public statements apologizing for their collaborations and expressing solidarity with Kelly’s victims. Within a week, amid growing public pressure, Sony/RCA quietly dropped Kelly from its roster of recording artists, though they did maintain the rights to the singer’s potentially lucrative back catalog.
Among the families featured in Surviving R. Kelly were the Savages, who say their daughter Joycelyn is being held in a “sex cult” by Kelly. Henry James Mason, Kelly’s manager, allegedly threatened to kill Timothy Savage, Joycelyn’s father, after Timothy tried to get in contact with his daughter. Mason denied the allegations, turned himself into the authorities, and was released on $10,000 bond last month.