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R. Kelly has been arrested on federal sex trafficking charges

Photo: E. Jason Wambsgans-Pool (Getty Images)

NBC New York is reporting that music artist R. Kelly, long the subject of allegations of abusive and controlling behavior toward multiple women, has been arrested in Chicago tonight on federal charges of sex trafficking. The arrest was reportedly made by a mixture of NYPD officers and Homeland Security agents, who will be transporting Kelly back to New York to face charges.

The accusations against Kelly have been circulating for years, but gained increased cultural awareness back in January, when Lifetime released its six-part docuseries Surviving R. Kelly. Directed by Nigel Bellis and Astral Finnie, the series focused on interviews with a number of women—often underage during their relationships with Kelly—who stated that the R&B performer cut them off from their families and committed sexually abusive acts against them during their time associated with him.


This isn’t the first time Kelly has been taken into police custody on charges associated with these accounts, even this year; back in February, he was charged with similar crimes in Chicago, and voluntarily gave himself up to the police before being released on bail.

UPDATE (10:12 a.m.): Per NBC, Kelly has also been charged with five counts in New York for racketeering, with the Chicago Tribune’s Megan Crepeau writing that, per an indictment unsealed on Friday, “Kelly & associates allegedly recruited female victims across the country, then blackmailed, isolated and groomed them to keep them under his control.” These charges accompany the 13 counts he was hit with last night, including child pornography and obstruction of justice.


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