NBC New York is reporting that R. Kelly was arrested late Thursday night on sex trafficking charges while in Chicago. The news reportedly comes from two law enforcement officials. The 13-count indictment reportedly includes charges of child porn, as well as obstruction of justice.
Though spokesmen from the New York Police Department and Homeland Security did not offer any comments or information on the arrest, it is believed that more details about the case will be released on Friday.
R. Kelly, whose full name is Robert Kelly, had previously been charged with child pornography in 2008, after a video surfaced of the rapper having intercourse with a girl estimated by prosecutors to be just 13-years-old. Had he been found guilty, the celebrity could have been behind bars for 15 years. However, the jury found him not guilty after the alleged girl in the video denied she was the subject and refused to testify.
Over a decade later, in February of 2019, Kelly was charged once again, this time with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. In a June hearing, prosecutors unveiled a DVD that allegedly showed the rapper having intercourse with a 14-year-old girl, which CNN described as “clear and explicit,” per BBC News.
Nonetheless, the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer pleaded not guilty to the charges, and is currently out on bail. He is facing a 30 year sentence, should he be found guilty.
Whispers about R. Kelly’s sexual abuse were also recently in the spotlight thanks to a Lifetime documentary that detailed the allegations. The six part series, Surviving R. Kelly, delved into the sordid rumors about his past and contained interviews with his alleged victims. The documentary series was wildly popular, and become Lifetime’s highest rated show in two years.
R. Kelly also made headlines in March, when he lost his temper during an interview with CBS This Morning anchor Gayle King. He was also hit with accusations that he had formed a “cult” by a 2017 Buzzfeed report. However, Kelly rejected any and all claims that he was holding any woman captive and against her will.
R. Kelly’s murky history with underage girls dates back to 1994, when it was reported that he married music superstar Aaliyah in a secret ceremony in Chicago. At the time, Aaliyah was 15-years-old; R. Kelly was 27. However, it was reported that Aaliyah had lied about her age on the marriage certificate, and the marriage was eventually annulled.
The news of Kelly’s charges comes as Jeffrey Epstein, another alleged pedophile, has been re-arrested on sex trafficking charges.