R. Kelly: the singer described as a “sexual predator” on the first day of his trial

Singer R. Kelly, known around the world for his hit “I Believe I Can Fly,” was described on Wednesday, August 17, as a “predator” by prosecutors on the first day of his sexual abuse trial in New York.

Having long escaped justice, the fallen R&B star is now held accountable. The 54-year-old is on trial for extortion, sexual exploitation of a minor, kidnapping, corruption and forced labor, from 1994 to 2018.

The 1998 three-time Grammy winner is accused of running a network that recruited and groomed young girls to have sex with him, locking them in their hotel rooms when he was on tour and asking them to wear clothes. t with him, to “keep your head down” and call him “daddy.” In total, the singer allegedly abused six women, including minors.

The first alleged victim called to testify at the bar by the prosecution, identified as Jerhonda, claimed that the singer was filming her sexual relations when she was only 16 years old, that is, under the age of consent in the United States. . The woman who is now 28 years old explained that R. Kelly had told her that he was going to “train her to satisfy him sexually.”

Prosecutor María Cruz Meléndez described a sophisticated system in which R. Kelly allegedly used “all predatory techniques” to approach minors or their families, but also used those around her (bodyguards, drivers, lawyers, accountants) to protect herself , especially through threats.

The prosecutor also referred to the case of Sonia, 22 years old at the material time, in 2003, an intern at a radio station who hoped to get an interview with the singer after meeting him in Salt Lake City. According to the prosecution, the young woman was taken to Chicago, where she was locked in a room for three days and was sexually abused by the singer, then threatened not to speak.

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If the jury finds him guilty on all counts – seven men and five women selected last week – the singer, currently in pretrial detention, faces ten years to life in prison.

R. Kelly has pleaded not guilty to all charges against him. “He will hear the whole story and justice will be served,” promised one of his attorneys, Nicole Blank Becker. In court, he argued that all sexual relationships were “consensual.” “He did not recruit anyone … It was the fans, who came to him,” said the lawyer.

For more than 25 years, the Chicago-born singer dominated the R&B scene despite a sulphurous reputation and allegations of sexual abuse. A 2008 trial for child pornography ended with an acquittal.

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