The charges allege that the 52-year-old musician and his associates (managers, bodyguards, assistants) recruited women and girls at concerts, arranged travel for them to see Kelly, and then set rules that the fans had to follow, including not being allowed out of their rooms without permission, having to wear baggy clothing, and having to call the singer "Daddy." The new indictments brought against Kelly were filed in both New York City and Chicago.
Kelly was arrested by New York police detectives and Homeland Security Investigations agents outside of his Chicago home on Thursday night. The arrest comes about five months after Kelly was released on bail in Illinois, after pleading not guilty to aggravated sexual abuse charges involving four accusers, three of whom were underage at the time of the alleged abuse.
"The conduct alleged appears to largely be the same as the conduct previously alleged against Mr. Kelly in his current state indictment and his former state charges that he was acquitted of," Steve Greenberg, an attorney for Kelly, told NBC New York. "Most, if not all of the conduct alleged, is decades old."
The platinum R&B artist has a history of sexual abuse allegations dating back to 1998. In 2008, Kelly was acquitted of child pornography charges associated with a video of the singer allegedly committing statutory rape with a girl prosecutors claimed to be as young as 13. Kelly denied the claims. The girl in the claim refused to testify and denied it was her; Kelly was otherwise facing 15 years in prison for the charge.
The singer’s behaviour has faced increased scrutiny this year, since Lifetime aired Surviving R. Kelly, a documentary series revisiting the numerous sexual abuse allegations against him. In 2018, BBC’s R. Kelly: Sex, Girls & Videotapes explored accusations that Kelly was running a "sex cult" and holding women against their will.