“Musician turned predator” R. Kelly will be tried in Brooklyn federal court
Now infamous R&B singer R. Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was arrested and charged in Chicago early Friday morning on five counts, including sexual exploitation of children.
While the eyes of the nation are surely to be upon this trial, it will take place right here in Brooklyn in the Eastern District of New York in front of federal court judge Ann M. Donnelly.
Kelly appeared in Chicago federal court, but an indictment was unsealed in the Eastern District of New York courthouse in Brooklyn on Friday. Those charges included racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and sexual exploitation of a child. He was also charged with four counts of violating the Mann Act related to one girl, including charges that he exposed her to infectious venereal disease without her knowledge.
“As alleged, R. Kelly…engaged in a racketeering enterprise that preyed upon women and girls who attended his concerts so that the victims could be available to engage in illegal sexual activity with him at a moment’s notice,” U.S. Attorney for the EDNY Richard Donoghue said in a statement.
“Today that comes to an end. This indictment makes clear that fame and power will not shield anyone from prosecution, particularly predators who victimize vulnerable members of our communities for their own sexual gratification,” Donoghue continued.
According to prosecutors, Kelly, his managers, bodyguards, drivers, personal assistants and other members of his entourage formed a racketeering enterprise known as, “The Enterprise.” They are charged with operating for over two decades in New York, Illinois, Connecticut and California.
“…for two decades, the Enterprise, at the direction of R. Kelly, preyed upon young women and teenagers whose dreams of meeting a superstar, soon turned into a nightmare of rape, child pornography and forced labor,” said Homeland Security, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent-in-Charge Angel Melendez.
“The musician turned predator allegedly used his stardom to coax some victims into nefarious sex acts while certain members of his enterprise calculatingly facilitated the aberrant conduct.”
Kelly would pick out children and women and directed members of the Enterprise to bring them backstage at concerts, prosecutors alledge. Kelly is accused of exchanging contact information with them so that he could make hotel and travel arrangements for them so he could engage in the charged illegal conduct.
Kelly allegedly had rules that included forcing the girls to call him “Daddy” and they were not allowed to leave their rooms or go to the bathroom without his permission. They were also forced to wear baggy clothes when he wasn’t around, were told not to look at other men, and were even discouraged from speaking with their families, prosecutors claim.
Kelly faces up to 20 years in jail on the top charge and up to 10 years for each of the Mann Act Transportation counts.
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