R. Kelly Arrested on Criminal Sexual Abuse Charges
R. Kelly has been arrested. After being charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse on Friday, the vocalist turned himself in to Chicago police late Friday night, as the Chicago Tribune, Associated Press, and TMZ report.
The arrest follows a newly uncovered videotape showing the singer having sex with an allegedly 14-year-old girl, which led the Department of Homeland Security to open an investigation on the singer’s potential violation of sex trafficking laws. The videotape was provided to officials by lawyer Michael Avenatti, who told CNN that the tape was given to him by a “whistleblower.” In the two scenes documented on the tape, both Kelly and the girl refer to her body parts as “14-year-old.”
On Thursday, two women went public with new allegations of Kelly’s sexual misconduct. During a TMZ-streamed press conference, Latresa Scaff and Rochelle Washington claimed to have met the vocalist at a 1996 concert in Baltimore when they were age 16 and 15, respectively. After the concert, Kelly brought the girls back to his hotel room, where he allegedly encouraged them to “pull up [their] dresses” and eventually perform oral sex and intercourse with the vocalist.
In July 2017, Chicago reporter Jim DeRogatis published a lengthy Buzzfeed investigation claiming that the musician was manipulating and abusing young women, who were being “held against [their] will in R. Kelly’s ‘cult.'” Since the report, numerous women have come forward with their own stories of sexual abuse and coercion, in some cases while underage. In response, Kelly’s lawyer issued a statement denying the allegations. The vocalist later canceled tour dates, including one high-profile performance at Madison Square Garden’s Hulu Theatre in New York City.
In January 2019, a three-part documentary called Surviving R. Kelly aired on Lifetime. The New York City premiere of the film had received multiple anonymous threats, which his ex-wife Andrea Kelly claimed to be from R. Kelly himself. Kelly was later dropped by Sony Music, and his musical collaborations with Céline Dion, Lady Gaga, and Chance the Rapper have since been removed from streaming platforms in response to the allegations. Watch new video footage of Kelly’s arrest below and revisit our timeline of the vocalist’s alleged sexual misconduct here.
Update (2:15pm EST): R. Kelly has been ordered held on $1 million bond, as the Chicago Tribune and CBS Chicago report. Kelly appeared in in Cook County court Saturday afternoon, where the bond was set at $250,000 for each of the four cases that led to the total 10 criminal charges.
This is a developing story and will be updated with more information as it becomes available.