Prosecutors on Saturday painted a dark portrait of a manipulative and sometimes violent R Kelly, describing how the US singer-songwriter repeatedly sought out underage girls for sex, including one girl he encountered at her 16th birthday party and another who met the rhythm and blues star while he was on trial for child pornography.
The accounts emerged as Kelly made his first court appearance since being accused of sexually abusing four people in a case that could produce another #MeToo reckoning for a celebrity.
A judge gave Kelly a chance to go free while awaiting trial, setting bond at US$1 million. That means the 52-year-old Grammy winner had to post US$100,000 to be released or remain behind bars until he is tried on the allegations, which date back as far as 1998 and span more than a decade.
The prosecution released four documents, one for each accuser, outlining the basis for the charges.
A 16-year-old girl reported meeting Kelly in 1998 at a restaurant where she was having a birthday party, the files said. Kelly’s manager gave her the singer’s business card and suggested that she call Kelly, they said.
The girl’s mother heard the exchange, took the card and told the manager that her daughter was 16, but her daughter later retrieved the card from her purse, they said.
She contacted R Kelly, who gave her instructions and money that she assumed was for the taxi fare to his studio, where they had sex periodically for a year, the documents said.
Another accuser, also 16, met Kelly at his 2008 trial, where he gave her an autograph. He later invited her to his home in the Chicago suburb of Olympia Fields, where they had sex multiple times, according to the documents, which said that he also slapped, choked and spit on her.
In early 2003, a Chicago hairdresser told prosecutors that she thought she was going to braid Kelly’s hair, but he pulled down his pants and tried to force her to give him oral sex, the documents said.
The woman, who was 24, was able to pull away, but Kelly ejaculated on her and spit in her face, they said.
Prosecutors also described a witness who had access to videotapes showing Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl. The witness turned the tape over to authorities and identified the girl, who repeatedly states her age on the footage, the documents said.
Kelly’s DNA was found in semen on one of the accuser’s shirts and semen found on a shirt worn by another was submitted for DNA testing, said Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx, the district attorney for the Illinois subdivision that includes Chicago.
It was not clear whether the accusers turned their shirts over to authorities shortly after the alleged abuse or more recently.
At the bond hearing, R Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, said that his client is not a flight risk.
“Contrary to the song, Mr Kelly doesn’t like to fly,” Greenberg told the judge.
Kelly “really doesn’t have any more money,” he added, suggesting that others had mismanaged his wealth.
Still, he said he expected that Kelly would be able to come up with enough money for bail.
The judge called the allegations “disturbing.”
R Kelly looked down at the floor as the judge spoke.
After the hearing, Greenberg told reporters that Kelly did not force anyone to have sex: “He’s a rock star. He doesn’t have to have nonconsensual sex.”
The judge ordered Kelly to surrender his passport, ending his hopes of doing a tour of Europe in April.
Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges in 2008 and has consistently denied any sexual misconduct.
He has been charged with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse. Each count of the new charges carries up to seven years in prison and the sentences could be served consecutively, making it possible for Kelly to receive up to 70 years.
EVOLVING SITUATION: Of the latest cases, 23 percent were found to be asymptomatic, but the coronavirus strain in Da Nang is more contagious, authorities said A COVID-19 outbreak that began in the Vietnamese city of Da Nang more than a week ago has spread to at least four city factories with a combined workforce of about 3,700, state media reported yesterday. Four cases were found at the plants in different industrial parks in the central city that collectively employ 77,000 people, the Lao Dong newspaper said. Vietnam, praised widely for its decisive measures to combat the novel coronavirus since it first appeared in late January, is battling new clusters of infection having gone for more than three months without detecting any domestic transmissions. Authorities yesterday reported one new
Three Micronesian sailors stranded on a remote Pacific island have been found alive and well after a rescue team spotted their giant SOS message written into the sand on a beach. Australian and US military aircraft found the three men on tiny Pikelot island, nearly 200km west of where they had set off. Rescuers said that the men were “in good condition” with no significant injuries. The men had been missing for three days after their 7m skiff ran out of fuel and strayed off course. Authorities in the US territory of Guam raised the alarm on Saturday after the men failed to complete
A cat that went missing on a family holiday on the shores of Loch Lomond, Scotland, has been identified 12 years later. Tortoiseshell-and-white Georgie spent October half term in 2008 with her owners at the Rowardennan campsite, but vanished as they were due to return home to Greater Manchester, England. After a search of the site the Davies family departed without Georgie, hoping the three-year-old microchipped feline would be located by someone. Over the intervening 12 years, she remained close to the Queen Elizabeth Forest Park site, being fed and cared for by campsite staff and holidaymakers. After the COVID-19 pandemic hit and lockdown
LIFELONG LOSS: Jiro Hamasumi, who was not quite born when an atomic bomb hit Hiroshima, lost his father and other relatives, but said he thinks about his father daily As Japan marks 75 years since the devastating attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the last generation of nuclear bomb survivors is working to ensure their message lives on after them. The “hibakusha” — literally “person affected by the bomb” — have for decades been a powerful voice calling for the abolition of nuclear weapons. There are an estimated 136,700 left, many of whom were infants or soon to be born at the time of the attacks. The average age of a survivor now is a little over 83, according to the Japanese Ministry of Health, lending an urgency as they share their testimonies