R. Kelly Arrested On 21 Counts Of Child Pornography

Officers apprehend singer at his Florida residence.

R&B star Robert "R." Kelly was arrested Wednesday afternoon at his Florida

residence after being indicted earlier in the day on 21 felony counts of

child pornography.

Kelly faces up to 15 years in prison and a $100,000 fine if convicted and

would have to register as a sex offender.

"Even though I do not believe any of the charges are warranted, I'm grateful

that I will have a chance to establish the truth about me in a court of

law," Kelly said in a statement Wednesday (June 5). "I have complete faith

in our system of justice, and I am confident that when all the facts come

out people will see that I'm no criminal."

A warrant was issued for Kelly's arrest on Wednesday, and the singer —

who was at a residence he owns in central Florida — planned to return

to Chicago and turn himself in to authorities on Thursday. However, officers

from Florida's Polk County Sheriff's Department arrived at Kelly's door on

Wednesday afternoon armed with a fugitive warrant and apprehended the

singer. A spokesperson for Kelly told MTV News that the singer's lawyers are

outraged Kelly wasn't allowed to return to Chicago to surrender as planned.

The singer is expected to post $750,000 bail on Thursday.

In February a videotape of Kelly allegedly having sex with a minor was given

to the Chicago Sun-Times, which handed the tape over to the sex

crimes unit of the Chicago Police Department.

At a press conference Wednesday, Terry Hilliard, superintendent of the

police department, and Richard Devine, the Cook County state attorney,

outlined the Kelly investigation and charges.

They said that after interviewing several people who identified Kelly and

the girl on the tape and having the FBI verify the tape's authenticity, they

levied the charges. The singer faces seven counts of directing the

videotaping of child pornography, seven counts of producing the video and

seven counts of enticing an underage girl into illicit acts.

Devine said Kelly knew or should have known the girl was born in September

1984 and noted the sex acts on the tape occurred sometime between November

1997 and February of this year at a home that Kelly once owned in Chicago.

The state attorney said he hopes the indictment of the singing star would

send a message to sexual predators.

"It becomes a tragedy when behavior damages a community," Hilliard said.

"Make no mistake, these are very harmful crimes. The nature of these

indictments returned today should also make parents more vigilant. These

acts are serious crimes that involve harmful acts which damage and degrade

our children and are diminishing the integrity of our entire community."

The tape in question — which has been bootlegged and sold across the

country everywhere from the street corner and the Internet to such record

stores as HMV — features a man who resembles Kelly engaging in sexual

acts with four different females in four different locations. One of the

women is the minor in question.

"I should also point out anyone that is selling this tape, as well as anyone

who has purchased it, is now in possession of child pornography," Hilliard

added. "It would be my advice to you to dispose of these tapes."

One of the females on the tape has come forward. On May 24, a 33-year-old

dancer named Motina "Tina" Woods filed a lawsuit with the Cook County

Circuit Court in Chicago for invasion of privacy. She alleges that Kelly

secretly taped them having sex and is asking for $50,000 in damages (see

[article id="1454932"]"R. Kelly Sued By Woman Claiming To Be Sex

Tape Subject"[/article]).

While many of his fans and peers have seen the sex tape for which Kelly is

being charged, the singer himself says he has not viewed it and has

proclaimed his innocence.

"There's things that people have done in their lives that they regret, and

I'm no different," he told MTV News last month. "I'm a human being, and I

want people to know that I'm no angel here, but I'm no monster either. I'm

no guy that would do this."

For a feature interview with R. Kelly discussing the

accusations against him, see

HREF="/bands/r/r_kelly/news_feature_051302/index.jhtml">"R. Kelly: In His

Own Words."

For full coverage of the R. Kelly sex tape scandal,

see The R. Kelly


[This story was updated at 7:57 p.m. EST on 06.05.02.]