Singer R. Kelly charged in Minnesota with soliciting sex from minor

Steve Gorman, Reuters

Posted at Aug 06 2019 06:49 AM

(Reuters) - Singer R. Kelly, jailed in New York on a federal sex-trafficking indictment, was charged on Monday in Minnesota with soliciting sex from a minor at a Minneapolis hotel room after she sought his autograph in 2001.

The 52-year-old R&B vocalist known for such hits as “I Believe I can Fly,” is accused in the Minnesota case of paying a 17-year-old girl $200 to take off her clothes and dance for him, and then engaging in sexual contact with the youth.

Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said, however, that the sexual activity did not include intercourse.

The Grammy-winning performer’s lawyer, Steve Greenberg, posted a message on Twitter saying, “Give me a break. This is beyond absurd.”

Kelly already is facing a raft of sexual misconduct charges in two federal cases in New York City and Chicago and in a state case brought in Cook County, Illinois.

An indictment filed in federal court in Brooklyn last month accuses Kelly of running a criminal scheme in which he recruited women and underage girls to have sex with him, isolating them, and often controlling what they ate and when they went to the bathroom.

Kelly was charged separately in Chicago with having sexual contact with five minors and recording sexually explicit videos of some of them. He is also accused of using threats and bribes to silence his alleged victims.

In February, prosecutors in Cook County, Illinois, charged Kelly with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse of an underage victim.

The criminal cases were brought after seven women, including Kelly’s wife, appeared on a Lifetime television documentary in January accusing him of emotional and sexual abuse.

The performer has denied abuse allegations for decades. In 2008, he was tried on child pornography charges and acquitted.

The Hennepin County prosecutor said the singer remained in custody in New York, “so exactly the time he will come to Minnesota is not clear.”

Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; editing by Tom Brown and Bill Berkrot