By: Jeff Baenen | Associated Press
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — A Minnesota prosecutor charged singer R. Kelly on Monday with prostitution and solicitation related to an allegation that he invited a 17-year-old girl to his hotel room in 2001 and paid her $200 to dance naked with him.
Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman said Kelly, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, is accused of soliciting the girl after meeting her before a concert in Minneapolis.
Freeman said the girl was trying to get an autograph from Kelly, and that the R&B performer gave her his signature and a phone number. When the girl called the number, she was invited to Kelly’s hotel. There she was offered $200 to take off her clothes and dance, Freeman said. He said Kelly took his clothes off and they danced together.
A criminal complaint said the girl said Kelly lay on his bed and the girl climbed on top of him “body to body.”
“According to Victim, the defendant was rubbing her body” and fondling himself, according to the complaint. “Victim stated that the defendant touched all over her body.”
The complaint said the girl attended Kelly’s concert “as a guest who did not have to pay,” and told her brother what had happened in Kelly’s hotel room.
The charges are felonies, each punishable by up to five years in prison. Freeman said his office investigated after getting a tip from a Chicago tip line.
“We felt we had more than enough to charge based on her testimony and corroboration from her brother,” Freeman said. “I don’t like buying sex from minors, and I don’t think most other people do either.”
Kelly’s attorney Steve Greenberg tweeted: “Give me a break. This is beyond absurd.” He did not immediately respond to a request for further comment.
The criminal complaint didn’t name the accuser, and her attorney, Gloria Allred, said it would not be disclosed. She called the woman “a child victim of Mr. Kelly” and said she showed courage to come forward.
“As this new case demonstrates, it is not too late for there to be justice for even more victims of R. Kelly,” Allred said in a statement.
The charges are the latest legal problem for Kelly, who remains jailed in New York after pleading not guilty last week in federal court to charges that he sexually abused women and girls who attended his concerts there. He is accused of using his fame to recruit young women and girls into illegal sexual activity.
Kelly, 52, is also charged separately in Chicago with engaging in child pornography.