R&B artist R. Kelly, who’s had a long history of legal troubles involving alleged sex crimes, now faces multiple new sex crime charges.
Earlier this year, Kelly was accused of 10 counts of felony aggravated criminal sex abuse, for which he was out on bail. But now he’s back in jail facing two federal indictments for allegedly making videos of himself raping underage girls, as well as paying them and their families to lie about it to investigators.
Among the charges against Kelly are two counts of receiving child pornography, four counts of making child pornography, one count of conspiracy to receive child pornography, five counts of paying a minor to engage in a criminal assault, and another count of conspiracy to obstruct justice.
Kelly is also charged with obstruction of justice for allegedly paying several hundred thousand dollars to individuals so they would lie to, or not cooperate with, those investigating him. He’s also accused of trying to buy back video of himself raping minors, and of paying people to lie to a grand jury.
The new indictments also accuse Kelly of making child pornography with at least four minor females under the age of 18.
In addition, Kelly faces a five-count indictment in New York, including racketeering and four counts of sexual exploitation of a child. The latter involve forced labor, kidnapping and other violations of the Mann Act, a federal law which prohibits transportation of a person across state lines for illegal sexual activity such as rape or prostitution.
The federal charges against Kelly stem from alleged sex crimes involving such interstate activity. Although most sex crime charges are prosecuted on the local or state level, the Mann Act of 1910 gives the federal government authority to step in when interstate racketeering is involved.
The most recent sex crime charges against Kelly, who’s been held in a federal correctional facility in Chicago, involve jurisdictions in New York, California and Connecticut. Also, two other criminal investigations against Kelly are underway in Chicago and Atlanta.
Even the Department of Homeland Security has been involved in investigations against Kelly, including looking into violations of the federal Mann Act.
Along with the concurrent investigations and charges against Kelly on the federal level and on multiple state levels, he could also face substantial civil lawsuits.
20 years of Kelly sex crime claims
Allegations of sex crimes by Kelly extend for 20 years and include lawsuits by women who alleged physical and sexual abuse.
To date he’s spent brief times in jail, including a stay in Chicago jail earlier this year on 11 counts of felony sexual abuse, a stay which ended when he paid $100,000 toward a $1 million bond.
But then came the documentaries.
The latest flurry of charges, indictments and investigations were primarily spurred by two documentaries on the singer: R. Kelly: Sex, Girls & Videotapes, produced by the BBC, and Surviving R. Kelly, a six-part documentary which aired on Lifetime last January.
Defending against a sex crime charge
The charges against Kelly could lead to a high-profile trial by jury.
Can Kelly successfully defend himself?
A jury was unable to reach a verdict in the first trial for actor and comedian Bill Cosby involving his alleged sexual assaults. But in the wake of the burgeoning #MeToo movement and the notorious sex crime cases against entertainment executive Harvey Weinstein, the jury in Cosby’s retrial took just two days to find him guilty.
Sex crime charges can be extremely serious for defendants, especially in this era. Defendants can face substantial prison time for sexual assault in Texas.
If you or a family member faces such an allegation in Harris County, Fort Bend County, Montgomery County or Houston, notify an experienced sex crime defense attorney at the Neal Davis Law Firm.