R. Kelly Charged With Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse

R. Kelly - Getty - H 2019
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The R&B singer has been indicted on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving three minors.

Chicago prosecutors charged R. Kelly with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four victims on Friday.

Kelly, whose legal name is Robert Kelly, was indicted before a Cook County grand jury, State Attorney Kim Foxx announced during a press briefing. The victims were identified by their initials only. Three of the victims were under the age of 17 when the alleged sexual assaults occurred. The incidents range from 1998 to 2010.

Aggravated criminal sexual abuse is a class 2 felony with a sentencing range of three to seven years per count. It is also probational. "We anticipate that Mr. Kelly will appear in bond court tomorrow afternoon," said Foxx to close her briefing.

A county judge has issued a no-bond warrant for Kelly’s arrest.

The Hollywood Reporter has reached out to a rep for Kelly.

The indictment comes amid reports reports that a grand jury had convened after a new sex tape allegedly showed the R&B singer, 52, sexually assaulting an underage girl.

On Feb. 14, attorney Michael Avenatti turned over to Foxx's office a recovered VHS videotape allegedly showing Kelly "engaging in multiple sexual assaults of a girl underage." The tape led to reports that an indictment was imminent in Illinois.

Kelly was previously arrested in 2002 for his alleged involvement in a child pornography tape that featured similar sexual acts featured on the new recording. He was acquitted when the case went to trial six years later. Avenatti said the new tape is unconnected to Kelly's previous criminal matter.

On Friday as news broke of the Kelly charge, Avenatti wrote on Twitter, "After 25 years of serial sexual abuse and assault of underage girls, the day of reckoning for R Kelly has arrived."

The development comes one day after two new accusers came forward with sexual misconduct allegations, adding their names to a growing list of women who have claimed the R&B singer sexually harassed or assaulted them, some when they were underage. The two women, Latresa Scaff and Rochelle Washington, were meeting with law enforcement about the investigation into Kelly, their attorney Gloria Allred said on Thursday.

In a press conference on Friday afternoon, Avenatti stressed that he is "confident, extremely confident, that at the end of this journey, R. Kelly will be convicted."

Avenatti added that his investigation of the situation began in April 2018. He concluded with a message to the people surrounding R. Kelly. "I want to send a message to the enablers of Mr. Kelly, to the agents and the managers, attorneys, and others who stood idly by and looked the other way and turned a blind eye while teenage girls were sexually assaulted for over two decades. I will not rest until each of you is brought to justice. We will uncover evidence relating to your participation in these crimes. Mr. Kelly did not do this alone."

Multiple women came forward with allegations of abuse in the explosive Lifetime documentary series Surviving R. Kelly when it debuted in January. Those claims, which included alleged sexual misconduct against several women who were underage at the time, gave rise to the #MuteRKelly movement and have stalled the singer's career.

Prosecutors in Chicago and Atlanta have been seeking information about Kelly since the accusations came to light in the docuseries. Foxx has previously said her office was inundated with calls after the doc premiered, and urged the public to come forward with information about potential victims of the R&B singer.

Several accusers featured on the documentary have continued to speak out since the docuseries aired, with three women since coming forward with new claims.

Kelly has denied all allegations.

Feb. 22, 12:25 p.m. Updated to include Foxx's press briefing.