The year was 2008 and Robert “R.” Kelly was wrapped up in a now-infamous case involving a sex tape, allegedly showing the singer urinating on a young girl. He would eventually be acquitted of the child pornography charges levied against him.
At the time, the young girl and her immediate family members refused to testify against the singer; their testimony was vital to the defense’s case. Their refusal ultimately helped lead to Kelly’s acquittal. Though their silence could be seen as frustrating to prosecutors and activists fighting against alleged predators such as Kelly, the reluctance to do so after such a trauma seemed, at the very least, understandable.
Cut to 2019, and the tables have certainly turned against Kelly. According to the New York Times, that young girl is now a young woman in her 30s and is cooperating with prosecutors, per her lawyer Christopher L. Brown. The extent of the young woman’s cooperation isn’t known at this time.
Just days prior to this revelation, Kelly was indicted on several state and federal charges, including child pornography, racketeering, sex trafficking, sexual assault and obstruction of justice. Prosecutors accused the singer of victimizing 12 women, with at least eight being underaged at the time of the alleged incidents. The young girl who allegedly appeared in the aforementioned sex tapes is on that list and prosecutors accused Kelly of paying her and her father to stay quiet.
“The defendant is charged with incredibly serious crimes against girls in middle school,” federal prosecutor Angel Krull said during Kelly’s bond hearing on Tuesday, “As young as 7th and 8th grade.” Kelly was ordered to be held in New York without bail.
Those who have seen Lifetime’s Surviving R. Kelly may remember the girl’s aunt, Stephanie Edwards, who had to reconcile her conscience with her complicity throughout the entire ordeal. Edwards is a former protégé of Kelly’s and goes by the stage name “Sparkle.” Sparkle did, in fact, testify against the now 52-year-old R&B singer in 2008.
According to Krull, Kelly would face a maximum of 195 years in prison if convicted.
(Updated 3/3/22 with new details)