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Woman who says R. Kelly sexually abused her wins default judgment against singer

R. Kelly walks with attorneys and supporters out of the Leighton Criminal Courthouse, in March. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

A woman who accused R. Kelly of sexual abuse has won a default judgment against the singer and is set to return to court to describe what happened to her.

The woman, one of four victims listed in a criminal complaint filed against Kelly in February, sued the embattled R&B superstar earlier this year. A Cook County judge on Tuesday ruled Kelly in default after he and his attorney failed to respond to the lawsuit.

No damages have been awarded yet. At a hearing next month, Judge Moira S. Johnson will hear details of the alleged abuse from the plaintiff before deciding how much Kelly should pay.

Neither Kelly nor his civil litigation attorney, Brian Nix, attended the hearing Tuesday at which Johnson found them in default. Kelly and Nix also skipped another hearing Wednesday; Johnson could have vacated her ruling had they shown up.

Attorneys for the plaintiff have said that since the lawsuit was filed Feb. 21, Kelly has ignored court summonses.

“Robert Sylvester Kelly has failed and refused to file an appearance or answer to the Complaint even though [he is] required to do so,” those attorneys wrote in their motion for default judgment filed earlier this month.

Nix did not respond to requests for comment. His criminal defense attorney, Steve Greenberg, said he had no involvement in the civil suit.

In a brief phone call with a Sun-Times reporter Wednesday morning, Kelly’s publicist, Darrell Johnson said: “We don’t care about the lawsuit. The lawsuit means nothing to us.”

At Wednesday’s brief hearing, Jeffrey Deutschman, one of the plaintiff’s attorneys, told the judge he still had not heard from Kelly, despite the default judgment that was entered Tuesday. After the hearing, Deutschman declined to comment further.

In court filings last month, Deutschman said he was unable to serve Kelly with court papers at his home in Trump Tower due to tight security in the building. A spokeswoman for the Cook County Sheriff’s office, though, said Kelly was served while he was being held in the county jail over his failure to pay the $161,633 he owed his ex-wife.

In her lawsuit, the woman alleges she met Kelly on May 26, 1998 as she walked down a street in Chicago. Kelly saw her, pulled his car over and talked to her, the suit states.

Later that day, an associate of Kelly’s met with her and her family at a restaurant and gave Kelly’s phone number to the girl. The associate “indicated that the defendant wanted to speak with the minor plaintiff and have her come to his studio and be in a video that he was making,” the suit states.

The plaintiff was “star struck and wanted to meet with defendant to pursue a role in what she believed was a music video,” the suit states. The sexual abuse started within a month, the complaint alleges.

“Commencing in or about June 1998 and thereafter until she was of the age of majority, defendant, Robert Sylvester Kelly, sexually abused plaintiff,” the suit states. “Specifically, defendant, Robert Sylvester Kelly, had sexual intercourse with the minor plaintiff. The defendant also engaged in oral sex with the minor plaintiff. During these repeated incidents, defendant represented to the minor plaintiff that this behavior was appropriate.”

The lawsuit seeks more than $50,000 in damages.

The Chicago Sun-Times is not identifying the plaintiff, as she is an alleged crime victim; Deutschman has confirmed she is one of the four women identified by their initials in criminal charges filed against Kelly in February.

Kelly’s alleged abuse of that victim, according to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s office, occurred between May 26, 1998 and May 25, 1999. Over that year, according to prosecutors, Kelly “knowingly committed an act of sexual penetration” upon the victim — “to wit: contact between Robert Kelly’s penis and [the victim’s] mouth.”