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R. Kelly charged for sex crime with underage girl in Minnesota

Updated: August 06, 2019 06:09 AM

R&B singer R. Kelly has been charged with sex crime involving an underage girl while in the state.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman announced the charges against the musician, who has also been charged with underage sex crimes in other jurisdictions, at a press conference Monday.

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According to the criminal complaint, on January 11, the victim reached out to law enforcement to report a sexual encounter with Kelly. She told police the incident happened when the musician was in Minneapolis for a concert. 

The event occurred on July 11, 2001, according to Freeman. The charges against Kelly are one count of engaging in prostitution with a person under 18 years of age and one count of hiring a person under 18 years of age for sexual purposes, Freeman said.

Freeman said the 17-year-old victim at the time "was attempting to obtain an autograph at City Center in Minneapolis, which Kelly gave to her along with a phone number."

When she called him, she was directed to go to his hotel, where she was met by a member of his staff and "ushered up to a hotel suite."

The criminal complaint states Kelly offered the victim $200 to dance with him, and she agreed. According to the victim, he then helped her remove her clothing after agreeing, and stated that Kelly took his clothes off as well. She went on to say Kelly laid on the bed and she climbed on top of him. Kelly is noted to have made contact with the victim's private areas, as well as touching himself in the same area, according to the complaint.


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After the encounter, she attended the concert and told police she was "very close" to the stage. The victim was not 18 at the time of the incident, as she would not have been allowed entrance to the 18+ show if she had a standard ticket.

Police later interviewed the victim's brother, who saw his sister at the concert. He stated to authorities he was "not only surprised that she was at the concert, but also how close to the stage she was located." He later confirmed everything his sister had told police, adding he did not go into details about the incident with her because "she looked very uncomfortable" discussing the matter.

R. Kelly is currently in custody over other underage sex crimes in New York.

Freeman says his office investigated after getting a tip from a Chicago tip line.

"Some might say, 'Aren't you piling on? He has these other charges.' But victims deserve their day in court, and that's one of the reasons we are here," Freeman said.

Kelly's attorney Steve Greenberg tweeted: "Give me a break. This is beyond absurd."

Celebrity attorney Gloria Allred, who represents other alleged victims of Kelly's, said Monday that she's representing the victim in Minneapolis. She issued the following statements:

"Today two additional state felony charges were filed in Minneapolis on behalf of a woman who was alleged to be a victim of R. Kelly. I do represent that victim as well. We are not disclosing her name and in the criminal filing she will only be called "the victim." Mr. Kelly is charged in that case with two counts of prostitution of a minor who is under the age of 18.

"I would like to emphasize that my client is not a prostitute. She is instead a child victim of Mr. Kelly. My understanding from law enforcement in that state, however, is that the only available statute for which Mr. Kelly can be charged is the prostitution statute. My hope is that in the future, the Minnesota legislature will review that law and consider changing it to more properly reflect crimes that are committed against children.  In its present form, some victims may be fearful of coming forward because they don't want to be classified as prostitutes, when nothing can be further from the truth.   

"I commend my client in Minneapolis for the courage she displayed in speaking to law enforcement. As this new case demonstrates, it is not too late for there to be justice for even more victims of R. Kelly."

Allred also issued the following statement:

"I am aware that law enforcement in Minnesota has been carefully investigating my client's allegations about Mr. Kelly for more than six months. They have taken it seriously and that is why charges were filed today.

"Mr. Kelly's defense attorneys should also take these charges seriously, because if they don't, Mr. Kelly will bear the consequences. Mr. Kelly is already in a world of trouble in the criminal justice system and questioning the motives of prosecutors will do nothing to help him with the serious felony charges that have been filed against him in Minnesota."

The charges are the latest legal problem for Kelly, who remains jailed in New York after pleading not guilty last week in federal court to charges that he sexually abused women and girls who attended his concerts there. He is accused of using his fame to recruit young women and girls into illegal sexual activity.

Kelly, 52, is also charged separately in Chicago with engaging in child pornography.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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Tommy Wiita

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