R. Kelly and other public figures accused of sexual misconduct
The singer has just been arrested on sex trafficking charges
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Following years of accusations, revelations, and allegations—many of which have been largely ignored—R. Kelly was put under criminal investigation in early 2019, facing 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse in Cook County, Illinois. That was the tip of the iceberg.
On May 30, the R&B singer was charged with 11 new counts of sexual assault: five counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, two counts of criminal sexual assault, and four counts of aggravated criminal sexual assault—the last of which is the most serious offense in Illinois besides first-degree murder, and carries a mandatory sentence of minimum six years, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. At least four of the alleged victims were under 18, TMZ reports.
On July 11, NYPD detectives and Homeland Security agents arrested Kelly in Chicago for federal sex trafficking charges, Variety reports. The arrest also includes a 13-count indictment including child pornography and obstruction of justice.
Many credit the revealing docuseries 'Surviving R. Kelly' with kicking off Kelly's criminal investigation. Directed by Dream Hampton, the series chronicles nearly three decades of the singer’s alleged sexual abuse and exploitation of black girls and women from his hometown of Chicago. It administered the visceral shock, paired with the names of alleged victims, that spurred the Fulton County district attorney to begin seriously looking at this case.
The docuseries paints a portrait of a serial predator, one that many people have often chosen not to see. But the disturbing and heartbreaking nature of the survivors' stories is impossible to ignore, and investigators were reportedly flooded with calls after it aired.
This was far from the first effort to cancel Kelly. Investigative journalist Jim DeRogatis reportedly broke the first major story about Kelly's teenage victims in 2000, and he's continued to write a number of pieces which publicized allegations of his sexual abuse. There have been accounts published in Rolling Stone, a BBC Three documentary called 'R Kelly: Sex, Girls & Videotapes,' and people have been boycotting the singer ever since the then-27-year-old singer married a 15-year-old Aaliyah—using papers forged by his former tour manager and assistant.
But these new charges might be the final nail in the coffin, and the punctuation needed to mark the #MuteRKelly movement.
The public is quickly learning how to deal with public figures accused of heinous crimes, especially since it seems there is a new allegation every day. Sadly, R. Kelly is just one of many figures who abused their power. Click through to see the defamed faces who have been accused of sexual misconduct.
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