A look back at nearly 2 decades of R. Kelly allegations

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CHICAGO — R&B singer R. Kelly has been charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse involving four victims, including at least three between the ages of 13 and 17. Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx alleges the incidents happened between 1998 and 2010.

Kelly is no stranger to these types of accusations or charges. Concerns have shadowed him for decades and most of his career.

Robert Sylvester Kelly is a born-and-raised Chicagoan who grew up in the Ida B. Wells housing project before soaring to international stardom. Seventy-five million albums and singles sold worldwide make him one of the most successful male R&B artists in history.

Kelly’s skyrocketing stardom was quickly followed by dark accusations.

In 2002, Cook County prosecutors indicted him on 21 counts of child pornography, the culmination of a four-month investigation. At the heart of the case was a grainy VHS video in which prosecutors said Kelly filmed himself having sex with a girl as young as 13.

Kelly’s lawyers dodged and delayed, filing motion after motion.

It would be six years before the case went to trial in Cook County. The alleged victims were significantly older and refused to cooperate with prosecutors. Over the years, there have been suggestions Kelly and his supporters “bought” the silence of potential accusers.

In June 2008, a Cook County jury acquitted Kelly on the child pornography charges.

Kelly went back to music, and radio stations continued to play his songs.

Both before and after the criminal charges, a variety of women sued Kelly and claimed he engaged in sex acts with them when they were minors. Several cases were settled out of court.

Then, last month, a little more than a decade after being acquitted on the child pornography charges, Lifetime released a docuseries called “Surviving R. Kelly.” In it, alleged victims and Kelly’s close friends accuse the singer of abuse, predatory behavior and pedophilia. The series opened a floodgate of new claims.

On Friday, prosecutors charged Kelly with sexually abusing four victims, three of whom were minors, between 1998 and 2010. That’s before, during, and after Kelly beat the child pornography charges.


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