A US judge set a $1 million bail for R&B superstar R. Kelly on Saturday after prosecutors laid out in graphic detail what they said was his long history of sexual abuse of four victims, three of them minors.
Kelly, who is known for hits like “I Believe I Can Fly,” surrendered to police late Friday. He is charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against the four females, one of them as young as 14 at the time of the alleged crimes.
In setting bail, Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. ordered Kelly to not have contact with anyone under 18 years old, and to not have contact with any of the alleged victims or witnesses. The singer was required to relinquish his passport.
Prosecutors described a video showing Kelly repeatedly having sex with the 14-year-old, DNA evidence from another victim’s shirt that they said matched Kelly’s and semen from a second victim that preliminary tests showed appeared to be his.
Prosecutor Kimberly Foxx said a witness, not publicly identified, had provided the video showing Kelly repeatedly having oral and vaginal sex with the youngest girl.
“In the video,” the prosecutor said, “the victim repeatedly, repeatedly, says she is 14 years old.”
Kelly met another alleged victim at her 16th birthday party, making clear he knew her age, Foxx said.
She met with him several times after that, and was handed an envelope with “a large amount of money,” the prosecutor said.
Illinois outlaws sex for those under 17 when the partner is at least five years older.
Kelly is 52. He would have been 31 at the time of the earliest alleged abuse.
In yet another case, Foxx said, Kelly had an appointment to have his hair braided by a 24-year-old hairdresser.
While she was waiting alone in a room for him, Foxx said, Kelly entered, his pants down, and tried to force her head down to his groin.
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She resisted but Kelly then “ejaculated onto the victim and spit in her face several times,” Foxx said.
DNA on her shirt, given to Illinois state police for testing, was found to match Kelly’s DNA profile, the prosecution said.
Although his bail was set at $1 million, Kelly needs to put up only a tenth that amount, or $100,000, to be let out of jail.
His next court appearance is an arraignment scheduled for March 8, when he will have an opportunity to enter a plea.
The swift turn of events came after a documentary series drew renewed attention to decades of accusations that the popular performer had engaged in child pornography, sex with minors and sexual battery.
A grand jury in Chicago handed down the 10-count indictment Friday alleging aggravated sexual abuse involving the four victims.
Foxx — the state’s attorney for Cook County, which includes Chicago — told journalists the alleged crimes occurred between 1998 and 2010. The charges carry three to seven years of prison per count, she said.
Kelly’s lawyer Steve Greenberg said the charges were based on old and false accusations.
“I think all of the women are lying,” he said. “Everybody’s trying to profit off of R. Kelly.”
It is the second time Chicago prosecutors have charged Kelly with a sex crime. He was acquitted in 2008 of 21 counts of child pornography after a dramatic trial.
Greenberg said one of the current charges involved a victim implicated in that trial.
High-profile lawyer Michael Avenatti and prominent women’s rights attorney Gloria Allred are representing clients linked to Kelly.
Avenatti — who also represents a porn star locked in a legal battle with President Donald Trump — said his office had uncovered previously unreleased footage of Kelly having sex with a teenager, which he had given to the Cook County State’s Attorney.
Avenatti said the approximately 40-minute tape, shot in the late 1990s, “leaves no question” of Kelly’s guilt, and that both the victim and the musician refer multiple times to her age as 14, with the girl referring repeatedly to Kelly as “daddy.” (NAN)