Monday 19 August 2019

R Kelly accused of soliciting 17-year-old girl

Prosecutors in Minnesota said they investigated after getting a lead from a Chicago tip line.

R Kelly (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky, File)
R Kelly (AP Photo/Amr Alfiky, File)

By Jeff Baenen, Associated Press

R&B singer R Kelly has been charged with prostitution and solicitation for a 2001 allegation that he invited a 17-year-old girl to his hotel and paid her 200 dollars to dance naked with him.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, is accused of soliciting the girl after meeting her before a concert in Minneapolis.

Mr Freeman said the girl was trying to get an autograph from Kelly, and that the performer gave her his signature and a phone number.

When the girl called the number, she was invited to Kelly’s hotel. There she was offered 200 dollars to take off her clothes and dance, Mr Freeman said. He said Kelly took his clothes off and they danced together.

A criminal complaint said the girl claimed Kelly lay on his bed and the girl climbed on top of him “body to body”.

The complaint said: “According to Victim, the defendant was rubbing her body” and fondling himself. “Victim stated that the defendant touched all over her body.”

The complaint said the girl attended Kelly’s concert “as a guest who did not have to pay”, and told her brother what had happened in Kelly’s hotel room.

The charges are each punishable by up to five years in prison. Mr Freeman said his office investigated after getting a lead from a Chicago tip line.

“We felt we had more than enough to charge based on her testimony and corroboration from her brother,” he said. “I don’t like buying sex from minors, and I don’t think most other people do either.”

Kelly’s lawyer Steve Greenberg tweeted: “Give me a break. This is beyond absurd.”

Mr Freeman did not provide a name for the alleged victim in Minneapolis.

Gloria Allred, the lawyer for several of Kelly’s accusers, said she also represents the newest woman to come forward, and commended her “for the courage she displayed in speaking to law enforcement”.

Gloria Allred, left, with one of R Kelly’s accusers (Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP)

“As this new case demonstrates, it is not too late for there to be justice for even more victims of R Kelly,” Ms Allred said in a statement.

The charges are the latest legal problem for Kelly, who remains jailed in New York after pleading not guilty last week in federal court to charges that he sexually abused women and girls who attended his concerts there.

He is accused of using his fame to recruit young women and girls into illegal sexual activity.

Kelly, 52, is also charged separately in Chicago with engaging in child pornography.

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