Though charges have yet to be filed, R. Kelly continues to defend himself against allegations that he taped himself having sex with underage girls. On Thursday, Kelly proclaimed his innocence again, even as he settled a lawsuit with a woman who accused him of seducing her when she was 17.
After protesters shattered R. Kelly CDs at the offices of WGCI-FM in Chicago, urging the station to stop playing his music, Kelly phoned the station to ask his fans to stand by him. The leader of the protest, the Rev. Bamani Obadele, asked Kelly to explain why there was a tape circulating that purports to show him having sex with a minor, and Kelly said he could offer no explanation.
"When you're famous, they expect you to work miracles, and I'm not God," the singer said in one of his few public comments on the issue.
When the story first broke about the tape in February, Kelly told Chicago TV station WMAQ it was a fake (see "R. Kelly Proclaims Innocence In Teen Sex Scandal"). "It's very difficult for me, but you know, I'm innocent," Kelly said at the time. "So it's not that difficult. It's crap, and that's how we're going to treat it."
That same week, however, Kelly settled another civil suit accusing him of having sex with an underage girl, just as more women prepared to file similar cases.
Last week Kelly settled with former Epic Records intern Tracy Sampson for an undisclosed sum, according to attorney Susan E. Loggans. In a $50,000 civil suit filed in August, Sampson claimed Kelly induced her into a sexual relationship when she was 17.
"Kelly took advantage of his occupational status, position of authority and Tracy Sampson's trust and confidence in him to cause her to develop a dependent relationship in him," the suit said.
Sampson's case is not the first such civil suit Kelly has faced, nor does it look to be the last. In 1998 he settled with Tiffany Hawkins for a reported $250,000. Hawkins claimed the singer had sex with her and induced her to have group sex with other teenage girls when she was 15. Additionally, two women represented by Loggans plan to file similar allegations shortly, the attorney said.
Chicago police continue to investigate Kelly and are still trying to authenticate the 27-minute tape they received nearly two months ago, officer Pat Camden said.
For full coverage of R. Kelly, see "The R. Kelly Reports."