R. Kelly has been charged with ten counts of aggravated sexual abuse and could face between 30 and 70 years in prison, if convicted.
The singer, 52, had been accused of abuse by several women and girls; allegations he had denied. Claims of sexual abuse have plagued the R&B star for more than two decades but came to a head recently with the broadcast of the Surviving R Kelly docuseries which featured interviews with his alleged victims.
Kelly is now set to appear in court on March 8, the Chicago SunTimes reports, citing court documents.
Each charge that Kelly faces comes with a maximum sentence of three to seven years in prison. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Lawyer Michael Avenatti, who’s worked on the Kelly investigation, wrote on Twitter: “It’s over”, before adding: “After 25 years of serial sexual abuse and assault of underage girls, the day of reckoning for R Kelly has arrived.”
After 25 years of serial sexual abuse and assault of underage girls, the day of reckoning for R Kelly has arrived.
— Michael Avenatti (@MichaelAvenatti) February 22, 2019
The news of his charge follows fresh claims revealed yesterday (February 21) that Kelly plied two teenage girls, age 15 and 16, with drugs and alcohol and had sex with the older girl while she was intoxicated.
Latresa Scaff and Rochelle Washington said they were 16 and 15 respectively when the singer allegedly cornered them in a hotel room after a concert in Baltimore.
Both women announced in a press conference in New York that Kelly’s security staff picked them out of a concert audience in “either 1995 or 1996”, the BBC reports.
Scaff, now 40, said she and Washington were given cocaine, marijuana and alcohol and asked to wait for Kelly in his hotel room. Scaff then claimed she and Washington were told to “pull up their dresses” ahead of the singer entering the room.
Scaff added that when Kelly arrived he had his penis exposed and invited the girls to a threesome.
Washington, now aged 39, refused and went to the bathroom while Scaff allegedly had sex with Kelly. She said she “did not have the ability to consent” due to being intoxicated.
Kelly has not responded to the allegations by Scaff and Washington at the time of writing but has always denied the multiple claims of sexual misconduct against him. In January, he issued a fresh denial through his lawyer Steve Greenberg, who said: “The allegations aren’t true because he never knowingly had sex with an underage woman, he never forced anyone to do anything, he never held anyone captive, he never abused anyone.”
NME has contacted Kelly’s lawyer, Steven Greenberg, for comment.