R. Kelly faces new federal charges of sex crimes, cover up
CHICAGO (AP) — Singer R. Kelly, already facing sexual abuse charges brought by Illinois prosecutors, was arrested today in Chicago on sweeping federal indictments that accuse him and members of his entourage of recruiting women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with the performer and later paying victims and witnesses to cover up his crimes.
An indictment unsealed today in the Eastern District of New York includes charges of racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and the sexual exploitation of a child. It says Kelly and his managers, bodyguards and other assistants picked out women and girls at concerts and other venues and arranged for them to travel to see Kelly.
They also set rules the women and girls had to follow, including not leaving their rooms – even to eat or go to the bathroom – without Kelly's permission, calling the singer "Daddy," and not looking at other men, the indictment alleges.
The indictment alleges the criminal acts occurred over two decades dating back to 1999, both in the U.S. and overseas. It accuses Kelly of engaging in sexual acts with girls under 18 and without disclosing that he had a sexually transmitted disease. It also accuses him of producing child pornography, including by asking minors to send him photographs.
A separate 13-count indictment filed in Chicago federal court details efforts to cover up sexually explicit videos of Kelly with underage girls. Prosecutors say the defendants paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to victims and witnesses to make sure they wouldn't cooperate with law enforcement. It also accuses Kelly of using physical abuse, violence and blackmail to prevent victims from providing evidence to law enforcement.
The Chicago indictment charges Kelly with child sex crimes, including producing child pornography, and conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government. It also names Kelly's business manager and another employee.
U.S. Attorney's Office spokesman Joseph Fitzpatrick said the R&B singer was out walking his dog when he was taken into custody about 7 p.m. Thursday and was being held by federal authorities. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons website, Kelly is being held at the high-rise Metropolitan Correctional Center, in downtown Chicago.