R. Kelly has been indicted on charges of criminal sexual abuse in Illinois' Cook County, court records showed Friday, following decades of allegations the singer sexually abused underage girls.
The 52-year-old R&B star faces 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, with indictments indicating up to four victims. Three of those victims were under the age of 17, prosecutors said.
Kelly's attorney, Steve Greenberg, tweeted that Kelly plans on turning himself in Friday sometime between 11 p.m. and midnight.
Kelly is scheduled to appear in bond court Saturday, with the case scheduled for March 8. An arrest warrant has been issued, records show.
Kelly has denied allegations of sexual misconduct involving women and underage girls for years. His attorney declined to comment Friday.
One of the indictments, involving a victim identified only as "L.C.," alleges Kelly knowingly "transmitted his semen onto L.C.’s body, for the purpose of Robert Kelly's or L.C.’s sexual gratification or arousal, by the use of force or threat of force." The incident, which prosecutors said took place on Feb. 18, 2003, resulted in one of the 10 counts against Kelly, according to prosecutors.
An indictment referencing a separate alleged victim, "J.P.," accused Kelly of sexual penetration when the victim was "at least 13 years of age but under 17 years of age, and Robert Kelly was at least five years older than J.P." Kelly is also accused of transmitting semen “onto J.P.’s body, for the purpose of Robert Kelly's or J.P.’s sexual gratification or arousal.” The incidents took place betwen May 1, 2009 and Jan. 31, 2010 and resulted in three of the 10 counts against Kelly, prosecutors said.
Indictments referencing alleged victims H.W. and R.L. accuse Kelly of both sexual penetration and engaging in oral sex when the victims were “at least 13 years of age but under 17 years of age, and Robert Kelly was at least five years older than” them.
The incidents against H.W. took place between May 26, 1998 and May 25, 1999 and resulted in four of the 10 counts against Kelly. Incidents involving R.L. took place between Sept. 26, 1998 and Sept. 25, 2001 resulted in two of the counts, prosecutors said.
The indictments note the statute of limitations for the cases is extended because either the victims were under 18 during the alleged offense or because it was reported to law enforcement within two years of the alleged offense.
In Illinois, aggravated criminal sexual abuse is a class 2 felony. It can carry a sentence of between 3 and 7 years in prison. A person convicted of this offense has to register as a sex offender.
The news comes just hours before attorney Michael Avenatti scheduled a 4 p.m. press conference in Chicago to discuss "details of the investigation."
"After 25 years of serial sexual abuse and assault of underage girls, the day of reckoning for R Kelly has arrived," Avenatti tweeted.
Avenatti, who previously reported he gave video evidence to Cook County prosecutors, said he planned to discuss a "major development in the case" and told The Associated Press he has evidence R. Kelly and his “enablers” paid witnesses and others to “rig” the outcome of the R&B star’s 2008 trial, when he was acquitted on child pornography charges.
Avenatti said last week that his office has been “quietly” investigating allegations made against embattled singer R. Kelly and confirmed his office gave a VHS videotape to Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx that allegedly features Kelly. The roughly 45-minutes of footage purportedly shows Kelly “engaging in multiple sexual assaults of a girl underage,” Avenatti said.
“This conclusive video evidence is not the same evidence previously seen and used in connection with the prior criminal matter in which Mr. Kelly was charged nor does it depict the same instances of sexual assault,” Avenatti wrote in a statement. “Further, the time frame of the sexual assaults depicted in the video is within the Illinois statute of limitations.”
Foxx, who also announced the charges Friday, previously called on potential victims to come forward.
Greenberg said he was not aware of the video before Avenatti's announcement last week.
"I have not been contacted by anyone connected with law enforcement, nor has R Kelly," Greenberg wrote in a statement. "Mr. Kelly denies that he has engaged in any illegal conduct, of any kind whatsoever. He would like to be able to continue to write and sing and produce and perform."
Attorney Gloria Allred also told the AP one week ago she had contacted law enforcement about concerns one of her clients may be the person in the VHS tape.
On Thursday, two women also represented by Allred alleged Kelly picked them out of a crowd at a Baltimore after-party in the mid-1990s when they were underage and had sex with one of the teens although she was under the influence of marijuana and alcohol and could not consent. Kelly's attorney, however, said the women "showed a picture of them with someone who was not R. Kelly."
"I am very glad that he has been indicated [sic] in Cook County and that this day has finally come for Mr. Kelly," Allred said in a statement, noting that she is "aware of other open investigations in other jurisdictions" as well.
"The days of running and hiding his victimization of women from the criminal justice system have now come to an end for R. Kelly," she added.
Kelly announced earlier this week he was leaving his Near West Side Chicago studio.