When Did R Kelly Get Charged for His Crimes?

R Kelly
R Kelly leaves the court after the proceedings in Illinois. (Photo Credit: Scott Olson | Getty Images)
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Disclaimer: The article contains mentions of sexual assault and child pornography. Reader discretion is advised.

In January 2019, Lifetime released a documentary titled Surviving R Kelly that explored the sexual abuse allegations against R Kelly. The documentary revealed how the rapper lured underage girls into having sexual relationships with him. The project became a hit and prompted other victims to come forward. Reports suggest that four women accused the rapper of brutal allegations after the documentary’s release, with three of them being underage. Authorities then charged singer-songwriter R Kelly with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in February 2019.

According to The New York Times, the incidents started in the early 90s. Moreover, the publication mentioned that three of the survivors were aged between 13 and 16 when the abuse occurred. Citing court documents, another The New York Times report noted that one of the victims accused Kelly of “ejaculating” on her in an attempted criminal sexual assault. The documents also show that the survivor reported the forcible encounter to the police within two years of its occurrence. On the other hand, the prosecution team revealed that the musician had “oral sex and intercourse with the other three victims,” who were all too young to consent legally.

In the following months, law enforcement agencies charged R Kelly with multiple offenses, including sexual abuse, child pornography, and enticement of a minor. The Homeland Security Investigations (HIS) and NYPD apprehended the rapper in Chicago in July 2019, per NBC New York. The following month, Minnesota prosecutors charged the musician with two counts of prostitution and solicitation involving a minor from an incident in 2001.

In August of that year, the sex trafficking trial began in Brooklyn. The court proceedings lasted for almost a month. In September, the jury found R Kelly guilty of all nine counts against him, including sex trafficking and racketeering, per the Associated Press. Eventually, the court sentenced the rapper to 30 years in prison. He also received a sentence of 20 years in prison for child sex crimes.

Where is R Kelly now?

The court filed R Kelly guilty of multiple charges in New York and Chicago. As a result, the court sentenced him to 30 years in prison in New York and an additional 20 years in prison in Chicago. Initially, the convicted offender was held in Chicago. However, in April 2023, authorities reportedly transferred the musician to a medium-security federal correctional institution in North Carolina. Per the Federal Bureau of Prisons, Kelly is serving his sentence at FCI Butner Medium I in North Carolina.

Although R Kelly denied all the charges against him, he has a long history of abuse allegations. The allegations of his inappropriate sexual conduct began in 1996 when a woman filed a lawsuit against the rapper. According to a 2000 report in the Chicago Sun-Times (via Time Magazine), a woman sued the musician for “inappropriate sexual conduct” with her in 1991. The girl was 15, while the rapper was 24 at the time. Meanwhile, WBEZ noted that the girl tried attempting suicide when her relationship with Kelly ended in December 1994. Four years later, in 1998, he settled the case and continued making music.

However, in April 1998, authorities arrested R Kelly in Chicago for allegedly being “verbally abusive” when people told him to turn down the music. A month later, the charges were dropped. Almost three years later, multiple women came forward to accuse Kelly of sexual abuse. One of the complainants said that Kelly impregnated her and forced her to have an abortion, per Time Magazine. Meanwhile, another woman claimed that the musician recorded her during intercourse without her consent. But the case never went to trial because Kelly settled the lawsuit with all the women in the complaint.

Nevertheless, a Chicago Sun-Times reporter received two tapes that allegedly showed R Kelly having sex with minor girls. Per Time Magazine, authorities charged him with 21 counts of child pornography. Although he was arrested in Chicago in 2002, Kelly pleaded not guilty to all the charges and said the man in the video was not him. In July 2003, police arrested Kelly once again after they discovered obscene photographs in his house. Authorities charged him with 12 additional counts of child pornography. However, two months later, a judge dropped the charges after calling the seizure of the photographs “illegal.”

In May 2008, Kelly’s child pornography trial commenced, and almost a month later, the court acquitted him on all counts. Time Magazine mentioned the girl in the video didn’t testify during the court, leaving the jury uncertain about her identity. R Kelly enjoyed success in his musical career before additional accusations emerged in the media. These accusations played a significant role in sending him behind bars.

Lifetime’s documentary Surviving R Kelly explores all the allegations mentioned in depth. The documentary is available to stream on Lifetime.

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