R. Kelly was arrested in Chicago on Thursday, July 11, on federal sex crime charges. He was taken into custody at 7 p.m. over a grand jury indictment listing 13 counts, including child pornography, enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice, the Associated Press reports.
Officials told NBC New York that the singer, 52, was walking his dog when Homeland Security Investigations agents and the NYPD Public Safety Task Force placed him in handcuffs. He is being held at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago, but is expected to be brought to New York to face additional charges.
“Mr. Kelly was aware of the investigations and the charges were not a surprise,” his attorney Steve Greenberg said in a statement via Twitter on Friday, July 12. “He had already assembled a team of outstanding litigators. He and his lawyers look forward to his day in court, to the truth coming out and to his vindication from what has been an unprecedented assault by others for their own personal gain. Most importantly he looks forward to being able to continue making wonderful music and perform for his legions of fans that believe in him.”
Thursday marked the third time in less than five months that Kelly has been arrested. He was taken into custody on February 22 on 10 sex-related counts involving four women, three of whom were minors at the time of the alleged incidents. He was released on bail three days after that arrest. In early March, he posed for another mugshot after being accused of not paying child support to his ex-wife Drea Kelly.
Kelly has been the subject of sexual abuse allegations for more than two dozen years. In 1994, a 27-year-old Kelly secretly married his then-15-year-old protégé, Aaliyah. His union with the “Rock the Boat” songstress, who died at age 22 in a 2001 plane crash, ended months later after being annulled by her parents.
The “I Believe I Can Fly” crooner was on trial in 2008 on child pornography charges stemming from a sex tape. He was acquitted after the teenage girl in the video declined to testify against him.
More recently, Kelly came under fire in 2017 when BuzzFeed News reported that he was allegedly holding women against their will in a cult-like situation (which he “unequivocally denied” via his attorney Linda Mensch), and again earlier this year when Lifetime aired a six-part docuseries titled Surviving R. Kelly that included interviews with several alleged victims.
If you or anyone you know has been sexually abused, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673). A trained staff member will provide confidential, judgment-free support as well as local resources to assist in healing and recovering and more.