R&B singer and Grammy winner R. Kelly was arrested on Thursday in Chicago on charges of child pornography, enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice. He was charged with racketeering and sex-related crimes against women and girls; the Illinois indictment against Kelly stated that he “engaged in sexual contact and sexual acts” with five different girls who met him when they were between the ages of 12 and 17.
The indictment also stated that Kelly “did knowingly employ, persuade, induce, entice and coerce a minor, namely Minor , to engage in sexually explicit conduct for the purpose of producing a visual depiction of such conduct, namely, Video 2, and defendant knew or had reason to know that such visual depiction would be transported in interstate or foreign commerce or mailed, or such visual depiction was actually transported in interstate or foreign commerce or mailed.”
As Fox News noted, “The 18-page indictment unsealed Friday accuses Kelly and members of his entourage of recruiting women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with the singer … It describes rules that Kelly had for the women, including not allowing them to eat or use the bathroom and not permitting them to look at other men and telling them to keep their heads down.”
Kelly’s former manager, Derrel McDavid, and a former employee, Milton “June” Brown, were also charged. The Chicago Tribune added:
According to the charges, Kelly recorded himself having sex with five minor girls beginning in 1998. After learning that some of the tapes were missing from his “collection,” Kelly, McDavid and Brown embarked on a scheme to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars to recover the recordings from various individuals, the indictment alleges.
Kelly was charged last February with sexual abuse involving four victims, but pled not guilty, then posted bail and was released. In an interview with CBS’ Gayle King in early March, Kelly had this exchange:
King: They are still talking about you with underage girls. Do you still sit here and say you have never been with underage girls. Can you really say that?
Kelly: I sit here and say this: I had two cases back then that I said in the beginning of the interview that I would not talk about because of my ongoing case now. Fair enough, but I will tell you this: people are going back to my past, OK? That's exactly what they're doing. They're going back to the past, and they trying to add all of this stuff now to that. To make all of this stuff that's going on now feels real to people.
In July 2017, Buzzfeed published a report in which it stated that parents had informed police that R. Kelly was holding women against their will in an abusive "cult." The article reported:
Three former members of Kelly’s inner circle — Cheryl Mack, Kitti Jones, and Asante McGee — provided details supporting the parents’ worst fears. They said six women live in properties rented by Kelly in Chicago and the Atlanta suburbs, and he 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.