R. Kelly Loses Sexual Abuse Case by Default After Failing to Show Up to Court
A Chicago judge issued a default judgment in the case, as neither R. Kelly nor his lawyers filed an answer to the suit, or made an appearance in court
After failing to show up to court, R. Kelly lost a civil lawsuit by default earlier this week against a woman who alleges the R&B singer sexually abused her as a teenager.
In the lawsuit, which was filed in February, the alleged victim, who is identified in court documents as H.W., claimed that in 1998, when she was 16, Kelly began sexually abusing her, according to the Chicago Tribune. She is now 36.
The woman is one of the four alleged victims Kelly was charged with abusing in February, for which the singer faces 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
On Tuesday, a Chicago judge issued a default judgment in the case, as neither Kelly nor his lawyers filed an answer to the suit, or made an appearance in court.
The woman’s lawyer, Jeffrey Deutschman, tells PEOPLE that Kelly was served with the lawsuit while in custody at the Cook County jail in March after failing to pay $161,000 in back child support.
Deutschman and his client will appear in court again on May 8, where they will get a judgment regarding how much Kelly will have to pay in damages.
Addressing the lawsuit on Wednesday, Kelly’s publicist Darrell Johnson brushed aside the sexual abuse case, telling the Chicago Sun-Times, “We don’t care about the lawsuit. The lawsuit means nothing to us.”
Kelly’s criminal lawyer Steve Greenberg tells PEOPLE, “The lawsuit is ridiculous. It’s based on repressed memories. It’ll get vacated and we’ll be back to square one.”
Kelly’s civil attorney Brian Nix tells PEOPLE, “It is my understanding that a motion to vacate the default judgment was filed.”
The lawsuit alleges that on the alleged victims’ birthday in 1998, when she turned 16, she was approached on the Chicago street by Kelly, according to The New York Times.
In the lawsuit, the woman goes on to allege that later that day, she was given Kelly’s number by one of the singer’s associates and was told Kelly wanted to “have her come to his studio and be in a video that he was making,” the Chicago Sun-Times reports.
According to the suit, the alleged sexual abuse started around June 1998, during which Kelly “had sexual intercourse with the minor plaintiff” and also “engaged in oral sex” with her, the outlet reported.
The suit went on to state that the alleged victim decided to come forward after attending therapy, according to the Chicago Tribune.
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Kelly was most recently jailed following a child support hearing in Chicago. Days after his arrest, the singer was released on March 9 after a payment for the back child support he owed ex-wife Andrea Kelly was made anonymously on his behalf.
The singer was first released from jail on Feb. 25, after paying 10 percent of his $1 million bail.
“Forget how you feel about me! Hate me if you want to, love me if you want, but use your common sense!” he told King during the CBS This Morning interview. “How stupid would it be for me with my crazy past and what I’ve been through to be like, ‘Oh right now, I think I need to be a monster and hold girls against their will, chain ’em up in my basement and don’t let ’em eat and don’t let ’em out?’”
In February, the R&B star was indicted by a grand jury on 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse against four alleged victims. All were referred to only by their initials, and three were specifically referred to as under the age of 17.
For the fourth alleged victim, whose age was not specified, the grand jury found one count of aggravated sexual abuse “based on the transmission of semen by Robert Kelly upon any part of the body of the [alleged] victim for the purpose of sexual gratification.”
The alleged incidents all occurred between May 1998 and January 2010.
Aggravated criminal sexual abuse is a Class 2 felony with a sentencing range of three to seven years per change, and is probationable.
Kelly, who has repeatedly denied all claims against him, was previously arrested in 2002 on child pornography charges. Six years later, a Cook County jury found Kelly not guilty on all 14 counts.
Kelly’s alleged behavior came to the media forefront again in July 2017, when BuzzFeed published a bombshell report accusing the star of running a “sex cult” out of his Chicago and Atlanta-area homes, and after the release of Surviving R. Kelly in January.
According to those reports, the star allegedly seduced a number of young women with the promise of helping them kickstart a music career, only to “groom” them into being his personal sex objects for whom he allegedly controlled every aspect of their lives.
If you suspect domestic violence, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233, or go to thehotline.org. All calls are toll-free and confidential. The hotline is available 24/7 in more than 170 languages.