MINNEAPOLIS (FOX 9) - Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman charged R&B singer R. Kelly Monday with two counts of prostitution and solicitation involving a girl under 18 in 2001.
According to the charges, Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, met the victim - who was 17 at the time - in July 2001 when he was in Minneapolis for a concert. She sought his autograph, and he signed his name as well as wrote down a phone number.
The victim called the phone number and was directed to the musician’s hotel in downtown Minneapolis, where he allegedly paid her $200 to get naked, dance and have sexual relations with him. Afterwards, she attended his concert free, although it was 18-plus.
Investigators first learned of the incident when the victim called a law enforcement hotline earlier this year to report a sexual encounter with Kelly.
Freeman said there was no "sexual intercourse" between Kelly and the victim, but there was "dancing and sexual contact." He admitted it will be a hard case to prosecute given the evidence is nearly 20 years old.
Kelly, 52, is already facing federal charges for allegedly sexually abusing women and girls who attended his concerts. He pleaded not guilty to those charges Friday in federal court in New York and was denied bail, the Associated Press reported.
The singer was also arrested in Chicago last month for allegedly engaging in child pornography.
Statement from Attorney Gloria Allred:
Today two additional state felony charges were filed in Minneapolis on behalf of a woman who was alleged to be a victim of R. Kelly. I do represent that victim as well. We are not disclosing her name and in the criminal filing she will only be called “the victim.” Mr. Kelly is charged in that case with two counts of prostitution of a minor who is under the age of 18.
I would like to emphasize that my client is not a prostitute. She is instead a child victim of Mr. Kelly. My understanding from law enforcement in that state, however, is that the only available statute for which Mr. Kelly can be charged is the prostitution statute. My hope is that in the future, the Minnesota legislature will review that law and consider changing it to more properly reflect crimes that are committed against children. In its present form, some victims may be fearful of coming forward because they don’t want to be classified as prostitutes, when nothing can be further from the truth.
I commend my client in Minneapolis for the courage she displayed in speaking to law enforcement. As this new case demonstrates, it is not too late for there to be justice for even more victims of R. Kelly.