R Kelly turns himself in to Chicago Police following sexual abuse charges

Published: February 23, 2019 13:54:19 | Updated: February 27, 2019 13:20:37


Moments before the singer was arrested. Internet photo

R Kelly has been charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, at least nine of which involve minors.

The R&B star, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, has faced decades of claims of sexual abuse against women and teenagers below the age of consent.

He has never been convicted and has previously denied other allegations.

An arrest warrant was issued, and the 52-year-old turned himself in to police in Chicago later on Friday. His lawyer says he is "shell-shocked".

Steve Greenberg told The Associated Press that his client was "extraordinarily disappointed and depressed" by the charges and maintains his innocence.

The indictment comes just weeks after a documentary series called Surviving R Kelly aired.

It contained decades of allegations of abuse against R Kelly, from many women, including the singer's ex-wife.

What are the allegations?

Prosecutors in Cook County announced the aggravated criminal sexual abuse charges, involving four victims, on Friday.

They say they took place between 1998 and 2010. Documents say at least three of the victims were aged between 13 and 16 at the time of their reported assaults.

Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx said he could face a maximum of seven years in prison for each count.

A no-bail arrest warrant has been issued for Kelly.

Mr Greenberg, his lawyer, told reporters that he had offered to sit down with prosecutors before the filing to describe "why these charges are baseless" but said they refused.

How did the charges come about?

Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx had urged women to come forward after the documentary series aired.

Lawyer Michael Avenatti has said he is representing six people, including two alleged victims, making allegations against Kelly. At least one of the victims is included in Friday's indictment, he said.

Mr Avenatti came forward last week to say he had uncovered and handed over previously unreleased footage showing Kelly engaging in sex with an underage girl to prosecutors.

The lawyer says the 40-minute tape, believed to be shot in 1999, shows him having sexual intercourse and engaging in other sexual and lewd acts with a 14-year-old. He has alleged both Kelly and the girl "repeatedly" reference her age as being 14 in the video.

Kelly was previously acquitted over another video tape of a similar nature in 2008, reports BBC.

US broadcaster CNN has said it has seen the new footage and described it as "clear and explicit".

The charges come one day after lawyer Gloria Allred said she was representing two new women making fresh allegations against Kelly.

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