Robert Sylvester Kelly (R Kelly)

Born on January 8, 1967, R Kelly has been a name to reckon in the R&B and hip-hop music genres. For years, the music star has been in the spotlight for racketeering conspiracy using musical fame as a shield to further criminal acts.

Decades of Denial

 In 1994, the singer tried to bribe a public aid officer for a fake ID for Aaliyah Haughton, 15, for an illegal marriage. R Kelly did marry the girl in the same year, which is unlawful in the United States.

In 1996 Tiffany Hawkins filed a lawsuit against the singer claiming sexual relationship since she was 15 years. The matter was settled away from the court since he had produced his music single “I believe I can fly” around the same time.

Until the early 2000s, allegations of R Kelly’s exploitation of young girls and boys for sexual gratification made headlines. Lack of cooperation from the victims resulted in the dropping of charges against him.

Emerging Evidence

 It was not until 2001 that the first videotape of the singer surfaced in the public limelight. It shows R Kelly having intercourse with a young lady who seems underage.

In 2002 another video anonymously leaked with the girl’s aunt involved purporting she may have been 14 at the time of making the video. Copies of these tapes were sold on the streets as of March 2002.

With the emerging tapes, many girls started coming out to confess being underage when they had sexual relationships with R Kelly. However, they settled most of the accusations out of court for unknown sums of money. Tracy Sampson, Patrice Jones, Mortina Woods are among those who settled their cases away from the court.

Legal Battle

Protest of R Kelly’s conduct sparked in 2014, leading to the cancellation of a planned performance in Ohio. In 2017 things got worse as BuzzFeed highlighted Mr. Kelly holding adult women against their will. Many parents come out speaking for their daughters, saying the singer manipulates them for sexual gratification.

While this happened, other allegations of sexual relations with Mr. Kelly emerged. The birth of a petition dubbed #MuteRKelly by Oronike Odeleye went viral, capturing activist Kenyette Barnes’s attention. Other protestors, such as The Women of Color, joined the movement.

Faith Rodgers filed a suit of assault and transmission of a sexual disease against R Kelly in 2018. Another video surfaced online of the superstar having sex with a girl believed to be 14 years.

Criminal Charges

 In 2019, a Cook County charged him with an 11-count indictment while the federal office Northern District of Illinois produced a 13-count indictment. A Hennepin County attorney charged the performer with two counts of engaging in prostitution. A new suit of bribery and falsification of ID in 1994 also emerged.

On September 27, 2021, federal prosecutors accused R Kelly of sex crimes, obstruction of justice, human trafficking, child pornography, and racketeering.

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