clock menu more-arrow no yes
R. Kelly, joined by supporters, walks out of the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in June 2019.
R. Kelly, joined by supporters, walks out of the Leighton Criminal Courthouse in June 2019.
Ashlee Rezin Garcia/Sun-Times

R. Kelly Timeline

Here’s a timeline of Kelly’s alleged crimes, according to Cook County and federal prosecutors, as well as original reporting of some of these events from the Chicago Sun-Times.

Jan. 8, 1967

Robert Sylvester Kelly is born in Chicago.

January 1992

R. Kelly releases his debut album, “Born Into the ‘90s,” with the group Public Announcement.

Aug. 31, 1994

Kelly marries his 15-year-old protégé, Aaliyah Haughton, who is identified as Jane Doe # 1 in Kelly’s federal indictment in New York. It alleges that, around the time of the marriage, Kelly had someone pay a bribe in exchange for a fake ID for Haughton.

February 1998

Kelly wins three Grammys for his hit from the “Space Jam” soundtrack, “I Believe I Can Fly.”

R. Kelly in Chicago on Jan. 6, 1998
R. Kelly in Chicago on Jan. 6, 1998 after it is announced that he received five Grammy nominations.
Photo by Brian Jackson/Chicago Sun-Times
May-October 1999

This is when Kelly is accused of illegal conduct with Jane Doe #2, who met Kelly when she was 16 after a member of his entourage approached her at a fast-food restaurant. Prosecutors say Kelly filmed their sexual intercourse multiple times, creating child pornography.

Dec. 21, 2000

The Chicago Sun-Times publishes the first in a series of articles about Kelly written by Jim DeRogatis and Abdon M. Pallasch. The pair reported in their first article that, “Chicago singer and songwriter R. Kelly used his position of fame and influence as a pop superstar to meet girls as young as 15 and have sex with them, according to court records and interviews.”

Aug. 25, 2001

Aaliyah Haughton dies in a plane crash.

Feb. 1, 2002

The Chicago Sun-Times anonymously receives a copy of a videotape that appears to depict sex acts between Kelly and a girl who is believed to be 14 years old. The newspaper turns the video over to police.

Feb. 8, 2002

The Chicago Sun-Times reports on the videotape it received one week earlier. The report appears the same day Kelly performs at the opening ceremonies for the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

June 5, 2002

A Cook County grand jury indicts Kelly on 21 counts of child pornography based on the video received by the Sun-Times earlier in 2002.

R. Kelly is escorted from a Chicago court Wednesday, June 26, 2002, after entering a plea of innocent to child pornography charges.
Grammy-winning singer R. Kelly is escorted from a Chicago court Wednesday, June 26, 2002, after entering a plea of innocent to child pornography charges. Kelly is accused of appearing on a videotape that prosecutors say shows him sexually involved with an underage girl.
AP Photo/Stephen J. Carrera
2003-2004

This is when Kelly allegedly kidnapped and sexually assaulted a woman identified in the federal indictment in New York as Jane Doe #3. The conduct would have occurred while Kelly was free on bond while awaiting trial in Cook County.

Prosecutors say Jane Doe #3 met Kelly at a mall outside of Illinois while she was working as a radio station intern in her early 20s. Kelly allegedly invited the woman to travel to Chicago for an interview. Once in town, she was directed to a room in a recording studio.

She was told to sign a nondisclosure agreement, not to talk to anyone and to keep her head down, prosecutors say. She spent three days in the locked room without sustenance, according to the feds. Then, when a member of Kelly’s entourage gave her food and drink, she became tired and dizzy.

Prosecutors say she woke up with Kelly in the room “in circumstances that made clear he had sexually assaulted her while she was unconscious.”

May 20, 2008

Testimony begins in Kelly’s trial on child pornography charges in Cook County, and defense lawyers insist Kelly is not the man who appeared on the tape that depicts sex acts involving an underage girl.

June 4, 2008

Chicago Sun-Times pop music critic Jim DeRogatis takes the stand during Kelly’s trial and invokes the First and Fifth amendments as he declines to testify about the videotape at the center of the case, which he received anonymously in 2002.

R. Kelly leaves the Cook County Court House
R. Kelly leaves the Cook County Court House Friday afternoon and was found not guilty on June 13, 2008.
Photo by Scott Stewart/Sun-Times
June 13, 2008

A Cook County jury acquits Kelly in his child pornography case after the alleged victim on the central video refuses to testify.

May 2009

This is when Kelly allegedly began a months-long sexual relationship with the victim known as Jane Doe #4, who was 16 at the time. Kelly allegedly made photos and videos of Jane Doe #4 engaging in sexual intercourse with Kelly and others.

He also allegedly led her to believe that she or members of her family would suffer serious harm if she did not perform sex acts on him and others. Kelly allegedly engaged in physical and psychological abuse when she disobeyed him by slapping and choking her, and isolating her in rooms for days at a time with no food.

Prosecutors say Jane Doe #4 appeared in the Lifetime documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly,” and her circumstances are similar to those of Jerhonda Pace, who was featured prominently in the show.

2015

Kelly allegedly had sex in April, May, September and October of 2015 with Jane Doe #5, while she was under the age of 18. Jane Doe #5 has been publicly identified as Azriel Clary, Kelly’s former girlfriend.

May 18, 2017

Kelly allegedly has unprotected sex with the woman known as Jane Doe #6, failing to tell her he had herpes. The feds say Jane Doe #6 appeared in the Lifetime documentary series “Surviving R. Kelly,” and her circumstances are similar to those of Faith Rodgers, who appeared in the show and filed a lawsuit against Kelly.

Feb. 2, 2018

Kelly allegedly again has unprotected sex with Jane Doe #6 without telling her he had herpes.

Andrea Lee Kelly reveals the trauma of her years as the former wife of R&B star R. Kelly in “Surviving R. Kelly.” | Copyright 2019 Lifetime
Andrea Lee Kelly reveals the trauma of her years as the former wife of R&B star R. Kelly in “Surviving R. Kelly.”
Lifetime
Jan. 3, 2019

“Surviving R. Kelly,” a documentary series, premieres on Lifetime.

Feb. 22, 2019

Cook County prosecutors again file charges against Kelly, this time accusing him of 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse that took place between 1998 and 2010.

July 11, 2019

Federal prosecutors reveal indictments against Kelly in Chicago and Brooklyn; authorities arrest the singer while he is walking his dog outside Trump Tower in Chicago.

July 16, 2019

Federal prosecutors tell a judge in Chicago the alleged victim in Kelly’s 2008 child pornography trial is cooperating with the government. “She has now gone on record,” a prosecutor says.

In this June 26, 2019, file photo, Musician R. Kelly departs from the Leighton Criminal Courthouse after a status hearing in his criminal sexual abuse trial in Chicago.
In this June 26, 2019 photo, singer R. Kelly departs from the Leighton Criminal Courthouse after a status hearing in his criminal sexual abuse trial in Chicago.
AP file photo
2020

Attempts to put Kelly on trial are repeatedly thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Judges in Chicago and Brooklyn also reject multiple requests by Kelly to be released from jail, where he is attacked by a fellow inmate.

June 9, 2021

Kelly tells the judge presiding over his case in New York he wants to move forward without his Chicago-based attorneys, Steve Greenberg and Mike Leonard. He opts to be represented instead by Thomas Farinella of New York and Nicole Blank Becker of Michigan.

June 22, 2021

After a nearly two-year stay in Chicago’s downtown Metropolitan Correctional Center, Kelly is moved to a detention center in Brooklyn to await trial.

Aug. 11, 2021

R. Kelly’s Brooklyn trial begins. 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. The trial, coming after several delays due mostly to the COVID-19 pandemic, unfolds under coronavirus precautions restricting the press and the public to overflow courtrooms with video feeds.

Sept. 27, 2021

A Brooklyn jury finds R. Kelly guilty of racketeering on their second day of deliberations. The charges were based on an argument that the entourage of managers and aides who helped the singer meet girls — and keep them obedient and quiet — amounted to a criminal enterprise.

Editorials

To save Chicago trees, get forestry advisory board in place

Coronavirus

Cook County Health reopens mass vaccination site in Forest Park

City Hall

Lightfoot escalates war of words with former watchdog she inherited, then pushed out

View all stories in News