For more than two decades, R&B singer R Kelly has been trailed by allegations of sexual misconduct. He was married to a young singer who turned out to be just 15 years old.
There were claims that he controlled women in a cult-like atmosphere. He was linked to an infamous sex tape. None of it meaningfully stood in his way.
Then, on Friday in Chicago, after weeks of renewed scrutiny, Kelly was indicted, subsequently being released on one million dollars bail.
Authorities accuse him of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four victims, three of whom were underage, according to the Cook County state’s attorney, Kim Foxx.
Aggravated criminal sexual abuse can carry a sentence of three to seven years in prison for each count. Kelly, whose real name is Robert Kelly, faces 10 of them.
“This was 30 years in the making,” said Jim DeRogatis, the music journalist who was among the first to document allegations against Kelly.
The singer, 52, was tried on 14 counts of child pornography and ultimately acquitted in 2008.
Ms Foxx said the events related to Kelly’s charges spanned from 1998 to 2010. Three of the victims were between the ages of 13 and 16 at the time of the incidents.
Kelly is accused of ejaculating on one victim, identified by the initials L C, in a forcible encounter, an attempted criminal sexual assault. Court documents said she reported the offence to law enforcement officials within two years of its occurrence.
Prosecutors said Kelly had oral sex and intercourse with the other three victims, all of whom were under 17, too young to legally consent.
Kelly, who turned himself in to police in Chicago on Friday night (local time), is due in court Saturday for a bail hearing. His lawyer, Steven Greenberg, has said his client denies any wrongdoing.
After his client surrendered, Mr Greenberg spoke to reporters for several minutes, fiercely maintaining Kelly’s innocence and blasting the state’s attorney for what he characterised as succumbing to public pressure by bringing charges against him. At one point he claimed that all of the women accusing Kelly are lying.
“Mr Kelly is strong, he’s got a lot of support and he’s going to be vindicated on all of these charges,” he said. “One by one, if it has to be.”
Kelly became the focus of scrutiny after the documentary Surviving R. Kelly was broadcast on Lifetime in January.
-The New York Times