The trials of brother Kelly
The foregoing was the first paragraph in Chapter 6 of Apostle Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. He went further in verse 15 of the same chapter (Rom 6:15) to ask again: What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law, but under grace? Certainly not! Perpetrators of sexual assaults and harassment often think they will get away with their acts forever, while those they harassed or assaulted languish in anguish.
When American singer, songwriter, record producer and multi Grammy Awards winner, Robert Sylvester Kelly, well known as R. Kelly, was acquitted and his case dismissed over a decade ago for child pornography, his younger brother, Kerry Kelly, called him on the phone and told him…”Hey man…GOD has given you another chance”.
The 52 years old singer’s response according to his brother during an interview was: “No….GOD didn’t give me another chance. My money gave me another chance.”Rather than learn from his mistake, the former semi-professional basketball player thought he could fly, no thanks to his hit record, I Believe I Can Fly, as he took for granted the fact that the judgment was in his favour. He continued with his act of sleeping with under-aged girls, forgetting that the long arm of justice would some day catch up with him.
Penultimate Friday, legal trouble for the Bump N’ Grind hit maker continues to mount with new federal charges in New York and Chicago that accuse him of forcing women and young girls to engage in illegal sexual activity.
The I’m a Flirt (Remix) was indicted in Illinois on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. Three of the four females he was alleged to have abused were between the ages of 13 and 16 at the time of the incidents, which were said to have taken place between 1998 and 2010. The age of consent in Illinois is 17.
The R&B singer was arrested on Thursday, July 11, 2019 in Chicago. On Tuesday, July 16, he entered a not guilty plea and a judge ordered him held without bail after a federal prosecutor said he’s “an extreme danger to the community, especially minor girls.”
Presently in a federal custody, Kelly, according to the Northern Illinois U.S. Attorney’s office is facing multiple charges, including four counts of producing child pornography and five counts of enticement of a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity.
According to a statement by the U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn, Kelly is also facing charges of sexual exploitation of children, forced labour and kidnapping. On August 5, local authorities in Minnesota also filed charges of prostitution and solicitation.
“As alleged, R. Kelly, together with employees and members of his entourage, engaged in a racketeering enterprise that preyed upon women and girls who attended his concerts so that the victims could be available to engage in illegal sexual activity with him at a moment’s notice,” Richard Donoghue, the U.S. Attorney in Brooklyn, N.Y, who also filed charges, said in a statement.
At a press conference, Cook County State Attorney, Kim Foxx, identified the alleged victims by initials only, saying: “Four counts relate to “HW” between May 26, 1998 and May 25, 1999; two counts relate to “RL” between September 26, 1998 and September 25, 2001; and three counts relate to “JP” between May 1, 2009 and Jan. 31, 2010.
“Another count relates to an alleged incident on February 18, 2003 against “LC” involving “the transmission of semen for the purpose of sexual gratification. Each felony charge carries a penalty of three to seven years in prison,” she explained.
In the Lifetime docu-series, Surviving R. Kelly, several women accused the Gotham City crooner of sexual misconduct. His record label reportedly dropped him, while artistes like Lady Gaga and Céline Dion have removed their duets with him from streaming services.
The singer’s estranged daughter, Buku Abi, had last month taken to social media to address the allegations against him. “The same monster you are all confronting me about is my father. I am well aware of who and what he is. I grew up in that house,” she wrote.
Troubled Personal History And Career Comprehensive Timeline
Born January 8, 1967, at Chicago Lying-in Hospital in Hyde Park, Chicago, the music superstar is credited for helping redefine R&B and Hip-hop genre, hence earning the nicknames ‘King of R&B’ and ‘King of Pop-Soul’. R. Kelly was raised in the Baptist church, where his mother, Joanne Kelly, sang and led in the choir. He began his music career with street performances during the late 1980s and debuted in 1992 with the group Public Announcement. In 1993, Kelly went solo with the album 12 Play.
It was gathered the music heavyweight grew up in a house full of women, and would act differently when his mother and grandparents were not home. From age eight to 14, an older female family member sexually abused him. Around age 10, an older male who was a friend of the family also sexually abused him.
“I was too afraid and too ashamed”, Kelly wrote in his 2012 autobiography Soulacoaster about why he never told anyone.At age 11, he was shot in the shoulder while riding his bike; the bullet is reportedly still lodged in his shoulder. While Kelly himself stated that boys who were attempting to steal his bike shot him, a family friend stated that Kelly shot himself while attempting suicide.
In 1994, R. Kelly, 27, achieved mainstream success when his single Bump n’ Grind hit number one on the Billboard 100. A month later, his protégé Aliyah, released her debut album, Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number, which was almost entirely written and produced by Kelly.With Age Ain’t Nothing But A Number, he climbed into the Top 10 on the R&B/Hip-Hop Album charts. The World’s Greatest crooner in July 1994 secretly married Aaliyah, who was 15 at the time, but the marriage certificate falsely listed her age as 18.
The marriage was reportedly annulled by a court months later, which Kelly denied ever took place and in May 1997, Aliyah filed a suit in Cook County seeking to have all records of the marriage expunged.When asked about the marriage reports in 2016, Kelly said: “Out of respect for her mother who’s sick and her father who’s passed, I will never have that conversation with anyone.”
In December 2000, Jim DeRogatis, a reporter for the Chicago Sun-Times, published an article that reveals that Tiffany Hawkins, an aspiring singer, sued Kelly in 1996. Hawkins alleged that Kelly “engaged in inappropriate sexual conduct” with her in 1991, when she was 15 and he was 24. Kelly countersues and later settles the initial lawsuit.
Between August 2001 and May 2002, allegations emerged. With Kelly established as a global superstar and the self-proclaimed ‘King of R&B’, a series of women sued Kelly for sexual misconduct. Tracy Sampson alleged that he had sex with her when she was 17 and claims that Kelly “often tried to control every aspect of my life.”Patrice Jones claims Kelly coerced her into having an abortion, while Montina Woods claims Kelly taped her during sex without her consent. Kelly reached settlements with all three women. The cases never went to trial, as Kelly admitted to no wrongdoing.
Dissatisfied with the outcomes, DeRogatis received two more videos that allegedly showed Kelly having sex with underage girls. He turned them over to the Chicago Police. After examination of the second videotape, the police indicted Kelly on 21 counts of child pornography in June 2002. He was arrested at his vacation home in Florida; he posted bail and pleaded not guilty, saying it’s not him that was in the video.
In July 2003, while shooting a music video in Miami, Florida, Kelly was again arrested and charged with 12 additional counts of child pornography after lewd photographs were found in his home. But two months later, a Florida judge said the photographs were illegally seized, and the charges dropped.
With the release of his fifth album titled Chocolate Factory, which featured the single Ignition (Remix), Kelly in February 2003 returned to the top of the charts, as the album debuted at number one, selling over 532,000 copies in its first week of sales.From 2003-2008, a series of improbable events caused the trail to drag on for years. In 2006, Judge Vincent Gaughan falls off a ladder and sustains injuries. The following year, Kelly undergoes emergency surgery for a burst appendix and the lead prosecutor gives birth, leading to more delays. A trial date was set for September that year, but Gaughan postponed it once again.
Not Guilty As Charged
After one day of deliberations, Kelly was found not guilty on all counts. He was acquitted of child pornography charges after a videotape surfaced, allegedly showing him engaged in sex with, and urinating on a 14-year-old girl. The girl believed to be on the tape refused to testify, and jurors say that they cannot be certain of her identity.
With the victory recorded in court, Kelly’s career rejuvenated and continues in full force. He dropped more album hits that made the number one on the Billboard 200. The attendant effect was that the singer got deals to perform at major stages and events, including Whitney Houston’s memorial service, the 2010 World Cup, the 2011 Grammy gala and Coachella 2013. This led him to release an autobiography in 2012, titled Soulacoaster.
Perhaps, determined to see Kelly go down, DeRogatis in July 2017 through Buzzfeed published another investigation into Kelly’s wrongdoings. This time, he alleged that Kelly was keeping women against their will in an abusive ‘cult’.
According to the exposé, the women interviewed — described as “former members of Kelly’s inner circle” — said that Kelly lives with six women “controls every aspect of their lives: dictating what they eat, how they dress, when they bathe, when they sleep, and how they engage in sexual encounters that he records.”But Jocelyn Savage, a woman whose parents told the police that she is being held captive, released a video on TMZ in which she denied being held against her will.
In May 2018, Faith Rodgers filed a lawsuit against Kelly in New York, accusing him of sexual battery. She later said that Kelly tried to silence her through threats of retaliation.Not perturbed by a cancelled concert scheduled to hold at the University of Illinois, Chicago due to protests, and his music is removed from Spotify’s playlists. Kelly in June the same year released a 19-minute song he titled I Admit in which he denies many of the accusations against him.
2019…A Year Of Troubles
It seems the year 2019 was designed to be a year charges against Kelly. In January, Surviving R. Kelly, a six-hour docu-series released on Lifetime, explores allegations against the American superstar, stretching back to the early 1990s. In the docu-series, more than 50 interviews was conducted with siblings, journalists and accusers, who say that they were lured into sexual relationships with the singer as underage girls and mentally and physically abused by him. But Kelly’s lawyer vehemently denied the claims in the documentary, saying, “It just didn’t ever happen.”
The series prompted Cook County State’s Attorney, Kim Foxx, to make a public plea for accusers to come forward. Foxx in February indicted Kelly on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in connection with four women, three of them underage. Michael Avenatti, a lawyer, turned in another tape to Foxx in which Kelly allegedly sexually assaults a minor. The R&B star was arrested but was released on $100,000 bond, as he pleaded not guilty to the charges. Amidst protests both online and in person, Kelly was dropped by Sony Music.
In March this year, during an interview with Gayle King on CBS This Morning, which aired March 6, Kelly in a bid to salvaged his battered image, jumped out of his seat, screamed and cursed, yelling “I’ve been assassinated” and “I’m fighting for my f-cking life.”The next day, CBS aired King’s interview with two women who lived with Kelly. They deny that they were being held against their will and denounce their parents, who believe they are being brainwashed. Meanwhile, Kelly himself was in the room for the interview, according to King.
Kelly was rearrested the day the first part of the interview aired for failing to pay his ex-wife more than $160,000 in child support. The same day, Detroit authorities open an investigation into a woman’s claims that Kelly had sex with her in 2001 in Detroit when she was 13 years old.
In May, Cook Country prosecutors charged Kelly with 11 new sex-related counts, including some that carry a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. The counts describe alleged sexual assault and abuse against a victim under 17.Taking to Twitter, the singer’s lawyer wrote that the charges are related to a previous case and are not being brought by a new accuser. “These are the same conduct, just charged differently, same alleged victim, same time frame, same facts. We expect the same results.”
The singer was again arrested on July 11 on new federal charges stemming from incidents in New York, Connecticut, Illinois and California, according to the U.S. Attorney’s office in Illinois. He was charged on 13 counts for producing and receiving child pornography and telling minors to engage in criminal sexual activity. He is also charged with conspiring to threaten victims and hide evidence from law enforcement.
According to the charge sheets, Kelly engaged in sexual activity with five minors. On Tuesday, July 16, U.S. District Judge, Harry Leinenweber ordered that Kelly be held without bond after federal prosecutors said that if he was released he might try to flee and that he was a risk to minors.Assistant U.S. Attorney, Angel Krull, reportedly told the judge that Kelly was “an extreme danger to the community, especially minor girls,” AP reported.
The agency also reported that Kelly on August 5, was also charged with prostitution and solicitation in Minnesota, stemming from an allegation that he paid a 17-year-old girl $200 to dance naked with him in 2001.According to Mike Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Kelly solicited the girl after meeting her before a concert in Minneapolis. Freeman said his office investigated after receiving information via a Chicago tip line, AP also reported.
Two other members of Kelly’s music business, Derrel McDavid, 58 and Milton Brown, 53, are also facing charges of receiving child pornography. According to the indictment from federal prosecutors in Brooklyn, Kelly and his associates, who included bodyguards, managers, drivers and assistants, would recruit women at concerts and other venues to travel with the singer.
There is no doubt to the fact, R. Kelly remains the best R&B recording artiste of all time. He has won awards including Grammy, BET, Soul Train Music Awards, Billboard Music Award’s, NAACP Image Awards, and American Music Awards. His voice easily shifts from booming baritone to seductive alto. Love and sex are the major topics of his lyrical content, although he has written about a wide variety of themes such as inspiration and spirituality.
The trial related to federal charges against the singer filed in Chicago is expected to begin on April 27, 2020 and last for three weeks. If finally convicted, he will spend 20 years in prison. This means he would be over 70 after serving his term. The music heavyweight was transferred from the Metropolitan Correctional Center’s Special Housing Unit to downtown jail’s general population. Initially, authorities were worried that other inmates would try to hurt the three-time Grammy Award winner, but his attorney asked that he be removed from what he called ‘solitary confinement’ because of the lack of human interaction.