R. Kelly has been charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Cook County, Illinois, according to The Chicago Sun-Times. The R&B artist’s first court appearance for the charges is set for March 8.
Kelly’s lawyer, Steven Greenberg, says that he hasn’t been informed of the charges, which qualify as class 2 felonies in the state. Prosecutors are seeking approval for a warrant for the singer’s arrest in court today.
“[Kelly] never knowingly had sex with an underage woman, he never forced anyone to do anything, he never held anyone captive, he never abused anyone,” Greenberg previously told The Associated Press.
TMZ reports that the alleged victims range from 13 to 16 years old, and that there are four purported victims involved in the case at this point.
Moments before the announcement was made, Michael Avenatti, who represents women who say they were abused by Kelly, tweeted, “It’s over.”
“After 25 years of serial sexual abuse and assault of underage girls, the day of reckoning for R Kelly has arrived,” he later added in a separate tweet.
Avenatti recently presented a video to Chicago police, one which he says clearly shows Kelly abusing an underage woman, as The Inquisitr previously reported. According to Avenatti, the 45-minute VHS tape shows Kelly and a 14-year-old girl engaged in sex acts that echo those he was accused of in the 2008 court case against him.
Chicago police had been actively seeking any evidence to show that Kelly had abused women after the shocking documentary Surviving R. Kelly debuted on Lifetime. The details provided by Avenatti are not confirmed to have led to the charges, but the timing suggests that they could have played a role. Last week, a grand jury convened to review the tape and to hear from witnesses. TMZ reported that a source says that the tape was an important part of bringing charges against the singer.
The news comes as two more women have come forward about the singer’s alleged abuse. Fox News reports that two women — Latresa Scaff and Rochelle Washington — say that they met Kelly at a party in 1996. There, they claim that Kelly singled them out, offered them drugs and alcohol, and asked for a threesome with them.
“When I first met R. Kelly that night, I was very happy and excited because I was young and starstruck,” Scaff said. “However, now that I am an adult, I feel hurt by what he did to me when I was only 16 years old and under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, which had been provided to me at his afterparty.”
Kelly has denied all accusations against him, and maintains his innocence.