R. Kelly has been charged with sexual assault of a minor in Minneapolis.
The charges – engaging in prostitution with an individual under 18 years of age and hiring or offering to hire for sexual purposes an individual under 18 years of age – stem from a July 11, 2001 incident in an undisclosed Minneapolis hotel, where according to Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, Kelly paid the female victim $200 to fully undress and the two engaged in some sort of sexual contact. Freeman said the contact was not penetration, but he did not elaborate during the Aug. 5 press conference announcing the charges.
According to Freeman, Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, met the victim when she approached the singer for an autograph, and he gave her a phone number to call. The victim called the number and accepted an invitation to his hotel, where another unnamed individual escorted the teen to Kelly’s room.
Freeman said the victim told her brother of the encounter when he discovered her in the front row of an R. Kelly performance, which was supposed to be an 18-and-up event.
“The victim’s brother confronted his younger sister asking what she was doing at the event and she divulged the details of her encounter,” said Freeman, who said the two remained silent about the incident until recently due to embarrassment.
Though the alleged incident took place in 2001 Freeman said there is no issue of a statute of limitations because Kelly left the state and did not return for a period of three consecutive years, which under Minnesota law preserves the statute. Kelly has been to Minnesota multiple times since 2001, but never for a period of three consecutive years.
The likelihood of Kelly facing trial in Hennepin County regarding this case is slim. Kelly is currently in jail in New York awaiting trial on 13 counts of child sex abuse and he has 10 more charges in Illinois.
“It doesn’t bother me one bit if this case doesn’t go to trial (due to possible convictions in New York and Illinois), but I can’t be sure of that unless we’re at the table,” said Freeman. “Minnesota victims deserve their day in court. This kind of contact with a child is not acceptable in the state of Minnesota or frankly anywhere.”
The victim in this case was between 16 and 17 years of age. Kelly, now 52, would have been 34 at the time.