R Kelly found guilty of sex crimes – here’s a timeline of what eventually led to this judgement

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Singer R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on September 17, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.
Singer R. Kelly appears during a hearing at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse on September 17, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.
Photo by Antonio Perez - Pool via Getty Images

Singer, R Kelly - whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly - was convicted of leading a decades-long sex crime scheme after a New York jury found him guilty on Monday.

According to Al Jazeera, the 54-year-old was found guilty of nine charges, including one of racketeering. This conviction comes six weeks after victims shared their testimonies of the disgraced singer’s involvement in the recruiting of women and teenagers for sex, before grooming and brutally abusing them.

The Ignition hit-maker could be facing up to life in prison. His sentencing is scheduled for 4 May 2022.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the trial - which officially began in 2019 after years of rumours - was delayed in 2020.

Let’s take a look at some of the events that led to his conviction.

1994: R Kelly illegally marries minor, Aaliyah

In August 1994, a then 27-year-old R Kelly married a 15-year-old Aaliyah illegally. According to Sky News, R Kelly and Aaliyah wed in a secret ceremony following the release of her debut album, Age Aint Nothing But a Number.

R Kelly had allegedly gotten his former tour manager, Demetrius Smith, to bribe a government official who granted them a fake ID.

1996: R Kelly gets sued and accused of sleeping with a minor

Two years later, R Kelly got married to Andrea Lee, who was a dancer from his touring company. Later that year, Tiffany Hawkins, a high school student and aspiring singer, sues Kelly for $10 million and alleges they began having sex in 1991, when he was 24 and she was 15. In 1998, the lawsuit was settled for $250 000 and R Kelly denied any wrongdoing.

2000: Article accuses R Kelly of using his influence to sleep with minors

In 2000, The Chicago Sun Times reported that R Kelly had “used his position of fame and influence as a pop superstar to meet girls as young as 15 and have sex with them.”

2001: Intern at R Kelly’s record label accuses him of sexual harassment

The following year, Tracy Sampson, who interned at Epic Records when she was a teenager filed a lawsuit against Kelly, alleging their sexual contact was illegal under Illinois law because he was in a “position of authority” over her.

The lawsuit was settled in 2002 for $250 000.

2002: A report on R Kelly allegedly having sex with a minor in a videotape surfaces

In 2002, The Chicago Sun Times once again exposed the singer; this time they reported that one of its reporters, Jim DeRogatis, had anonymously received a 29-minute-long videotape allegedly showing Kelly having sex with a minor.

This report later caused the singer to be charged with a child pornography charge. He pleaded not guilty and was released on $750 000 bail.

2005: R Kelly’s wife, Andrea, files for a protection order against him

In the year 2005, R Kelly’s wife, Andrea Kelly, whom he has three children with, filed for a protection order against him after he allegedly hit her after she said she wanted a divorce.

2008: R Kelly’s child pornography trial begins

Five years after being charged with child pornography, an official child pornography trial against him began. However, R Kelly was acquitted of all charges against him.

2009: R Kelly and wife get divorced

In 2009, Andrea and R Kelly reveal that they are divorced after being married for 11 years.

2017: Parents accuse R Kelly of keeping their children in an abusive cult

In 2017, Buzzfeed News reported on claims made by parents who alleged that Kelly had brainwashed their daughters and kept them in an abusive “cult.” In the same year, the #MuteRKelly movement was started.

2018: Faith Rodgers files a lawsuit against R Kelly for sexual battery, mental and verbal abuse and knowingly giving her herpes

The following year, advocacy group Time’s Up and others associated with the broader #MeToo movement called for deeper investigation into Kelly’s alleged behaviour. This resulted in Spotify removing Kelly’s music from its platform.

Later that year, 20-year-old Faith Rodgers filed a lawsuit accusing Kelly of sexual battery, mental and verbal abuse, and knowingly giving her herpes.

2019: Surviving R Kelly documentary is aired, R Kelly gets arrested

In January 2019, Lifetime channel premiers Surviving R Kelly, a documentary series that chronicles the allegations against the singer and features interviews with several of his accusers.

A month after the documentary’s premier, R Kelly was arrested and charged in Chicago with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse.

2020: R Kelly pleads not guilty

In March 2020, R Kelly pleads not guilty to charges made by a new accuser.

2021: R Kelly is found guilty

In August 2021, R Kelly’s sex-trafficking trial begins. In September, he is found guilty of charges including sexual exploitation of a child, bribery, racketeering and sex trafficking involving five victims.


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