A tape that allegedly shows R. Kelly engaging in sex with an underage girl, which is now under investigation by Chicago police, appears to have surfaced on the streets of New York and a number of Web sites.
Though R. Kelly's lawyer has said that "no videotape of Robert Kelly having sex with an underage girl exists" (see "R. Kelly Proclaims Innocence In Teen Sex Scandal"), sites promising just that are offering downloads of the footage, sometimes for a fee, despite the fact that it could be stolen child pornography. R. Kelly's lawyer was unavailable to amend his earlier statement.
The females on the tape making the rounds are unidentified, but the content of the footage in terms of setting and activities matches what has been described as the nearly 27-minute tape currently under investigation.
Other footage also purports to show Kelly in compromising positions, with one Web site claiming to have 10 hours of material and boasting of access to still more.
A spokesperson for one of the sites offering footage for free said the decision to post the material was for "journalistic purposes, to prove that the tapes do exist." Reps for a sex site charging $2.99 per download claim they're offering it to prove that it's not R. Kelly. "It's a fake tape," insisted Dennis Johnson of DH Industries. "I just put it up there to show that it's not him."
Regardless of whether or not it's really Kelly, the material being downloaded is second- or third-generation footage from a tape that was likely stolen to begin with. Additionally, the identities of the female sex partners are not known nor their ages determined, though police are investigating claims that one of the girls depicted was 14 at the time of taping. Federal law prohibits the production, receipt, distribution, possession, transportation, mailing and advertising of any "visual depiction" involving the use of a child under 18 years of age in sexually explicit conduct.
Yet another apparent Kelly sex tape surfaced this past weekend and is being sold on the streets of Harlem, New York, for $20 about double what you would pay for a regular bootleg movie. This tape runs over 30 minutes and features two different segments of a man, who appears to be Kelly, having sex with two females of undeterminable ages in what looks like two different rooms in a house. A third segment shows two more females, one of whom is posing bottomless for the camera. All the parties involved seem to be aware they are being taped.
"I ain't the police, so it's not up to me to judge," the vendor who is peddling the tape said. "Personally, none of the [girls] on the tape look young. We're selling it because it's him. We wouldn't care if the chick was 50 years old. [People] don't care about the girls ... they wanna see him."
The vendor said he was given the tape by a "famous DJ," but did not know where the record-spinner got his copy. He didn't seem to care.
"You look at it like this they sell [R. Kelly's] CD in HMV for $18," he said. "He's been making money off of us, so what comes around goes around."
For full coverage of R. Kelly, see "The R. Kelly Reports."