R Kelly arrested on federal sex trafficking charges

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “R Kelly arrested on federal sex trafficking charges” was written by Naaman Zhou, Edward Helmore and agencies, for theguardian.com on Friday 12th July 2019 19.46 Asia/Kolkata

R Kelly will be charged with racketeering and sex-related crimes against women and girls, in a sweeping New York federal indictment.

The 52-year-old R&B singer was arrested in Chicago on Thursday night on 13 federal sex crime charges and is being held at the Metropolitan correctional center in the city.

Joseph Fitzpatrick, a US attorney spokesman, said that the indictment against Kelly handed down in federal court for the northern district of Illinois also contained charges that revolve around child abuses images and obstruction of justice.

“The counts include child porn, enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice,” Fitzpatrick said, adding that further details would be released later on Friday. Fitzpatrick said Kelly’s arraignment date and time had not yet been set.

Kelly’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, confirmed his arrest.

The new federal sex crimes charges involve sex trafficking, according to the New York Daily News, and Kelly will face a Brooklyn federal court.

The charges appear to stem from allegations made by Faith Rodgers, one of Kelly’s main accusers, who has claimed Kelly manipulated her in a year-long relationship in which he locked her up in rooms and vehicles as “punishment” for “failing to please” him.

Rodgers sued Kelly in Manhattan in 2018 claiming he forced her to have “non-permissive, painful and abusive sex” in a New York hotel in 2017, and knowingly infected her with herpes.

“I trusted him and he betrayed my trust,” Rodgers told reporters at a news conference in January. “Once I recognized my worth, I knew I had to walk away.”

New York police department (NYPD) investigators met in January with Rodgers. Her lawyer, Gloria Allred, said at the time that her client was “doing her duty to provide information”.

The Grammy winner, whose real name is Robert Kelly, was arrested in February on 10 counts in Illinois involving four women, three of whom were minors when the alleged abuse occurred. He pleaded not guilty to those charges and was released on bail.

Then on 30 May, Cook county prosecutors added 11 more sex-related counts to the charges involving one of the women who accused him of sexually abusing her when she was underage.

The new charges, including one of aggravated sexual assault, carry a potential prison sentence of up to 30 years.

The charges came just weeks after the celebrity Los Angeles attorney Michael Avenatti disclosed he had a VHS tape he said showed Kelly having sex with a minor girl.

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, that tape appears to be the basis for the charges against Kelly involving a girl, identified in court papers only as TJ, who allegedly had sex with the singer sometime between 1998 and 2001, when the girl would have been 14 to 16 years old.

The latest federal charges against Kelly were rumored to be in the pipeline for several months.

Ae former Sun-Times music journalist, Jim DeRogatis, who has doggedly reported on allegations against Kelly for nearly two decades, wrote in the New Yorker magazine that the FBI and IRS were investigating Kelly and that a human-trafficking investigation by the Department of Homeland Security also was under way.

The US attorney’s office in Manhattan also was investigating Kelly, DeRogatis reported.

Darrell Johnson, a publicist for Kelly, said he planned to deliver a statement at a Friday morning news conference in Atlanta. He declined to comment before then.

Kelly has faced mounting legal troubles this year after Lifetime aired a documentary Surviving R Kelly, which revisited allegations of sexual abuse of girls.

The series followed the BBC’s 2018 R Kelly: Sex, Girls & Videotapes, which alleged the singer was holding women against their will and running a “sex cult”.

Soon after the release of the Lifetime documentary, the Cook county state’s attorney, Kim Foxx, said her office had been inundated with calls about the allegations in the documentary. Her office’s investigation led to the charges in February and additional counts in May.

Kelly avoided prison after similar allegations were made more than a decade ago.

A jury in 2008 acquitted him of child abuse images charges that stemmed from a videotape allegedly showing Kelly having sex with a minor.

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R Kelly arrested on federal sex trafficking charges | NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE

Rajesh Ahuja

I am a veteran journalist based in Chandigarh India.I joined the profession in June 1982 and worked as a Staff Reporter with the National Herald at Delhi till June 1986. I joined The Hindu at Delhi in 1986 as a Staff Reporter and was promoted as Special Correspondent in 1993 and transferred to Chandigarh. I left The Hindu in September 2012 and launched my own newspaper ventures including this news portal and a weekly newspaper NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE (currently temporarily suspended).