Sex abuse can have a lasting impact on victims, who are often hesitant to come forward, particularly if their abuser is a celebrity or otherwise well-known. Recently, a new documentary and TV interviews have discussed accusations against rap artist R. Kelly claiming that he committed outrageous sex crimes against women including minors. The police have since charged R. Kelly with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in response to seven of these allegations. If he is convicted on all counts, he could face 70 years in prison.
The singer’s history of sex abuse allegations started during the 1990s when he illegally married a 14-year-old girl. In 2002, a videotape showed R. Kelly engaging in sexual activity with a minor. The singer denied these allegations and denied that it was him in the tape. That year, he was also charged with 21 counts of child pornography. In 2017, he was also accused of keeping a number of women captive in his home as part of a sex abuse cult. He was also accused of recording women engaging in sexual encounters without their consent to be recorded.
In 2018, a woman in Texas accused R. Kelly of sexual battery, false imprisonment, and failure to disclose a sexually transmitted disease after an encounter in a hotel room in New York City. The attention surrounding R. Kelly reached new heights when TV channel Lifetime aired a three-night documentary discussing many of these allegations and featuring interviews from many of these women. A few months later, R. Kelly was featured in a TV interview where he had an outburst. He denied all allegations against him, but he was arrested later that day for failing to pay over $160,000 in child support.