R. Kelly arrives for a court appearance Friday, July 1, 2005, in Chicago

R&B singer R. Kelly, right, arrives for a court appearance Friday, July 1, 2005, in Chicago, where a judge set a court date to determine the age of the tape in the R. Kelly case. Kelly is accused of videotaping himself engaging in sex acts with an apparently underage girl at a home he owns in Chicago. He has pleaded innocent.

AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast

Chicago Sun-Times’ R. Kelly archives

Original reporting on R. Kelly from the Chicago Sun-Times has been republished just before the R&B star goes back to court in August 2022.

The Chicago Sun-Times played a pivotal role in the investigations and the subsequent coverage of criminal charges against R&B star R. Kelly. The paper published its first interview with the rising star on May 15, 1994. “I love coming home,” he told reporter Dave Hoekstra. “I hang around the same places; I hang around the same ‘hood.”

News of Kelly’s marriage to his 15-year-old protege Aaliyah Haughton first surfaced in “Kup’s Column” later that year on Sept. 22. “[Kelly] maintains she’s 18, but her Detroit high school friends insist she’s an underage 15,” Kup wrote. Haughton’s parents had the marriage annulled soon after the reports began circulating.

On Dec. 21, 2000, Sun-Times reporters Jim DeRogatis and Abdon M. Pallasch broke the first story that Kelly was having sex with teenage girls. The expose delved into several lawsuits filed against Kelly by women who he targeted when they were underage. Despite the bombshell allegations, Kelly was not charged with a crime.

Two years later, DeRogatis received a videotape sent anonymously that appeared to show Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl, who was identified by her aunt. The reporter turned the video over to the police and, on Feb. 8, 2002, published another expose with Pallasch about the new investigation into the videotape.

Chicago police finally charged Kelly with pornography charges in June 2002. The paper followed developments in the case for the next six years before finally covering the trial when it began in May 2008.

All the while, columnist Mary Mitchell wrote countless articles asking why Kelly fans seemed to stick by the accused singer despite the seriousness of the charges and why the victims, all of them Black women, saw so little sympathy from their communities.

The jury ultimately found Kelly not guilty in 2008.

In August 2021, Kelly faced another trial, this one in New York, after several delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A prosecutor described Kelly to jurors as a predator who lured girls, boys and young women with his fame and dominated them physically, sexually and psychologically while a defense lawyer warned that they’ll have to sift through lies from accusers with agendas to find the truth. On Sept. 27, the jury found Kelly guilty on all nine counts, including racketeering, on their second day of deliberations, and in June 2022, a judge sentenced him to 30 years in prison.

Now almost a year after his previous trial began, the singer will now face another jury in Chicago, this time on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse that took place between 1998 and 2010.

If you’re new to the case or need a refresher on what’s happened so far, read through a timeline of Kelly’s alleged criminal activity and history as outlined by federal prosecutors and investigative reporting from the Chicago Sun-Times. For the most up-to-date coverage on Kelly and his next Chicago trial, follow along here.

4 Total Updates Since
May 15, 1994 02:00 PM