It has been 15 years since R. Kelly was hit with an onslaught of bad press for his alleged sexual misconduct with underaged girls. In 2002, he was arrested on 21 counts of child pornography.
"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," he said in a statement that year. "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."
Kells was then acquitted six years later following a four-week trial. Now, the music journalist who broke the news at the Chicago Sun-Times, Jim DeRogatis, tells all in a harrowing interview with The Village Voice. Here's a taste of the jaw-dropping details:
"[The lawsuits] were stomach churning. The one young woman, who had been 14 or 15 when R. Kelly began a relationship with her, detailed in great length, in her affidavits, a sexual relationship that began at Kenwood Academy: He would go back in the early years of his success and go to Lina McLin's gospel choir class. She's a legend in Chicago, gospel royalty. He would go to her sophomore class and hook up with girls afterward and have sex with them. Sometimes buy them a pair of sneakers. Sometimes just letting them hang out in his presence in the recording studio. She detailed the sexual relationship that she was scarred by. It lasted about one and a half to two years, and then he dumped her and she slit her wrists, tried to kill herself. Other girls were involved. She recruited other girls. He picked up other girls and made them all have sex together. A level of specificity that was pretty disgusting."
Read the full interview here.