R. Kelly charged with engaging in prostitution, soliciting a minor in Minnesota

The musician already faces multiple federal and state sex crime charges in New York and Illinois.
Image: Singer R. Kelly arrives at the Leighton Courthouse for his status hearing in relation to the sex abuse allegations made against him on May 7, 2019 in Chicago
Singer R. Kelly arrives at the Leighton Courthouse for his status hearing in relation to the sex abuse allegations made against him on May 7, 2019 in Chicago.Nuccio DiNuzzo / Getty Images file

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By Tim Stelloh

R. Kelly was charged with one count of engaging in prostitution with a minor and one count of soliciting a minor for sexual purposes, authorities in Minnesota said Monday. The singer is facing other federal and state sex crime charges in New York and Illinois.

The Hennepin County Attorney's Office said in a statement that the alleged crimes occurred on July 11, 2001, with a 17-year-old girl who was trying to get an autograph from the singer.

The woman, who was not identified, later went to Kelly’s hotel room and was given $200 to dance naked for the performer, according to the statement.

Kelly, who also allegedly stripped, then touched the teen "all over her body" and gave her VIP tickets to his concert, the statement said.

The woman contacted local authorities in January to report the incident, the statement said.

In a news conference, Hennepin County Attorney Michael Freeman said she told her brother about the incident when it occurred but was "embarrassed at the time and didn't come forward" until Kelly was charged earlier this year.

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Because of Kelly's other charges, it was unclear when the performer would make his first court appearance in Minnesota, according to the statement.

Attorney Gloria Allred, who is representing the woman, said in a statement that her client is not a prostitute but “a child victim of Mr. Kelly.”

“My understanding from law enforcement in that state, however, is that the only available statute for which Mr. Kelly can be charged is the prostitution statute,” Allred said, adding that she hoped state legislators can change Minnesota law to “more properly reflect crimes that are committed against children.”

A spokesman for the county attorney, Chuck Laszewski, confirmed that Allred's comments were accurate and agreed that the legislature "ought to take another look" at the state's child sex crime laws.

In response to a request for comment, Kelly's lawyer Steve Greenberg, said: “Frankly, I’m not sure I could say anything without swearing.” He called the charges "an abuse of process, prosecutorial discretion and a perversion of the statute of limitations."

Kelly has been the subject of sexual abuse allegations for almost two decades, some of them alleging acts as far back as 1998. He has vigorously denied the allegations.

Kelly, whose full name is Robert Kelly, was indicted in July on 18 federal sex assault charges that allegedly occurred in Chicago and New York not guilty plea

Federal prosecutors allege that Kelly, 52, took underage girls across state lines for sex. Kelly and two employees are also accused of recruiting women and girls to engage in illegal sexual activity with the performer, then paying victims and witnesses to cover up the crimes.

Kelly pleaded not guilty to the charges. He also pleaded not guilty to state sexual abuse charges in Illinois.

CORRECTION (Aug. 6, 2019, 8:45 a.m. ET): An earlier version of this article misstated the number of charges R. Kelly faces in Minnesota. He has been charged with one count of engaging in prostitution with a minor, not two.

Diana Dasrath contributed.