After decades of sexual abuse allegations against R. Kelly, the R&B singer is facing the consequences. Over the past several years, new claims against the musician, the #MuteRKelly movement, and the docuseries Surviving R. Kelly have all brought Kelly’s alleged actions renewed attention. As a result, police opened investigations into the singer, and now he has officially been charged with sexual abuse. The Chicago Sun-Times reported today, February 22nd, that Kelly faces 10 charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against four victims, three of whom were between 13 and 16 at the time. The charges span 12 years, from 1998 to 2010. The paper notes that Cook County Judge Dennis Porter has approved a no-bail arrest warrant for the singer.
According to records seen by NBC Chicago, Kelly will appear in court on March 8th. The news outlet notes that if he is convicted of sexual abuse, he will have to register as a sex offender. Sexual abuse convictions can lead to prison sentences between three and seven years, according to NBC Chicago. In a statement to NBC Chicago, attorney Gloria Allred said, “I am very glad that he has been indicated [sic] in Cook County and that this day has finally come for Mr. Kelly.”
Several Twitter users praised Surviving R. Kelly producer Dream Hampton for her role in bringing Kelly to justice.
But when journalist Yashar Ali called her a hero, she simply tweeted, “The survivors are heroes.”
Kelly’s indictment comes one week after CNN reported that attorney Michael Avenatti said that he had a video tape depicting the singer committing statutory rape. In the tape, Kelly can reportedly be seen having sex with a girl who makes references to her “14-year-old” body. According to CNN, Avenatti turned over the tape to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office over President’s Day weekend.
It’s been a long road to get to this point, and hopefully Kelly’s indictment won’t be the end of this fight. As always, we stand with all survivors of sexual assault, and we hope that Kelly’s victims see the justice they deserve.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual harassment or assault, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-4673.