CHICAGO (Reuters) – Grammy-winning singer R. Kelly was charged on Friday with criminal sexual abuse of at least three girls under 17, a prosecutor said, following years of allegations against the 52-year-old R&B singer.
An attorney for the singer did not immediately return a call or email seeking comment.
Cook County State’s Attorney Kimberly Foxx said Kelly was expected to appear in court on Saturday for a bond hearing on 10 counts. Of four female victims in the case, at least three whom he allegedly abused between 1998 and 2010 were under the age of 17 at the time, she said. The age of the fourth was not provided.
Kelly faces three to seven years in prison on each count, Foxx said.Foxx at a news conference in January had called for anyone alleging abuse by the singer to come forward so their claims could be investigated. She made the remarks after the six-hour documentary “Surviving R. Kelly” was aired on Lifetime television.
In the documentary, multiple women made allegations of sexual misconduct against the performer.
LADY GAGA DUET
The program sparked a furor on social media, and singer Lady Gaga vowed to remove a duet she recorded with Kelly from streaming services and never collaborate with him again.
Kelly, singer of “I Believe I Can Fly” and record producer, has for years denied accusations of abuse, including those made in the documentary.
In 2008, the singer was tried and acquitted on child pornography charges in Chicago.
Kelly’s record label, Sony Music-owned RCA, split with the Chicago native last month after activists from the #MuteRKelly pressure group delivered a petition signed by some 217,000 people to Sony headquarters in New York City asking the record company to drop the musician.
Separately last month, a former manager for the singer turned himself into authorities in Georgia, where he was wanted on a charge of making threats against one of the families that took part in the Lifetime documentary.
Reporting by Suzannah Gonzales in ChicagoAdditional reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angele and Alex Dobuzinskis in Los Angeles and Andrew Hay in New Mexico; Editing by Bill Tarrant, Leslie Adler and Cynthia Osterman