Friday 12 July 2019.
R Kelly was arrested in Chicago yesterday evening on federal sex crime charges. He faces thirteen new charges in total, linked to allegations relating to sex trafficking, images of child abuse and obstruction of justice.
These are, of course, just the latest in a series of charges that have been made against Kelly since a TV documentary put the spotlight back on numerous allegations of sexual abuse that have been made against the musician over the years. Further details of the new charges are due to be announced later today.
Meanwhile, the musician faced a grand jury in Chicago upon his arrest and is now expected to be taken to New York, where the sex trafficking case originates. He is also accused of attempting to influence a case in Atlanta.
Speaking to the BBC last month, journalist Jim DeRogatis – who has long documented the abuse allegations against Kelly – said he was aware of other ongoing investigations into the musician’s alleged conduct, in addition to those that had already resulted in charges.
That included, DeRogatis said, an investigation into allegations of sex trafficking. Kelly, he explained, was accused of breaking the Mann Act, a 1910 law that made it illegal “transport any woman or girl” across state lines “for any immoral purpose”. Whether or not it is that specific investigation that has led to this latest arrest isn’t yet clear.
Kelly is already awaiting trial of course, with eleven further charges being added to the original ten back in May. Three of the four women those charges related to were underage at the time the alleged crimes took place. Already facing potential sentences of more than 200 years, the latest charges reportedly carry potential jail time of up to 30 years each.
On bail until his arrest yesterday, Kelly continues to deny all of the charges against him.