A Deep-Dive Into The Allegations Against Him.
R. Kelly is known as the King of R&B and for the person responsible for launching Aaliyah's career. Throughout his career, multiple women have come out with accusations of sexual assault. Most of these women claim that R. Kelly abused them when they were underage.
Though he was acquitted in 2008, more women (and now, a man, as well) have come forward, and many who have worked closely with him have told their own stories, corroborating the allegations.
Hi everybody! I’m Didi West, and this is Broken Limelight!
For today’s episode, we’re going to talk about R. Kelly. Mr. Robert Kelly, the Pied Piper of R&B.
Dude… this story is nuts. This is gonna be a 2 parter by the way. Uh. At least 2 parts. R. Kelly’s accusations date back to the early 90’s. And believe it or not, people STILL THINK HE’S INNOCENT.
If you have no idea what I’m talking about, R. Kelly made some of the greatest R&B hits in the 90s and 2000s. And then suddenly, all these women and girls started coming forward and accusing him of sex crimes, some against children, and sex tapes came out.
So, first of all, just in case you for some reason haven’t heard about all of this, let me give you a trigger warning. This episode is going to mention the theme of sexual abuse against children.
I’m going to break down the entire timeline here and look into everything and see if we can separate rumor from fact.
“Soulless: The Case Against R. Kelly” by Jim De Rogatis// The journalist who was sent the videotape of R. Kelly having sex with and urinating on an alleged 14 year old girl.
This book is basically about this journalist’s investigation into R. Kelly and the allegations of raping underaged wo— well, girls.
This book was awesome because the case is full of he-said/she-said and Jim DeRogatis really did a great job at compiling interviews and court documents, and he really lays out the evidence.
Also, the show Surviving R Kelly is full of interviews from the victims and witnesses, like people who worked with or for R. Kelly.
So uh. Brace yourselves. Here we go.
R. Kelly was born Robert Sylvester Kelly in Chicago, and has been credited as the Pied Piper of R&B and the King of Pop-Soul. I’ll be referring to him as “Robert” throughout this episode. He’s known for hits like I Believe I Can Fly, Ignition, Bump N Grind, The World’s Greatest, and so on. His mother’s name was Joann Kelly and his father’s identity is unknown. There is no father listed on his birth certificate. Joann raised the kids on her own. Their home was known to be very simple, their kitchen table was small and bare and only had 2 chairs.
Robert was super close to his mom. He and his siblings all had different fathers, and Kelly didn’t look like his brothers Bruce and Carey. They were a little bulkier and fuller in the face, whereas Robert was tall and lanky. He was also a pretty timid kid. Joann said that Robert was the one she worried about the most. He was sensitive.
This sounds a lot like Marvin Gaye’s relationship with his mom.
Robert is known for having a love for McDonalds. It’s legitimately his happy place. Joann would take him to McDonald’s almost every morning. He had once said “She’d fix a cup of coffee, she’d wear this cheap lipstick, she’d leave this red lipstick ring around the cup, and I’d turn it around and drink from that part, taste lipstick and coffee at the same time. If I could, I would have married my mom.”
One time as an adult, he had a rough day and he drove up to McDonald’s and just asked for a uniform, and he spent the next 3 hours slinging big macs and shit.
Robert started singing in church at 8 years old. In fact, he was following in his mother’s footsteps. Joann sang for the church and she was amazing. At home, she would sing Gladys Knight songs, and Robert, Bruce, and Carey would play her Pips.
When he was 8, he had his first little girlfriend named Lulu. Robert said that Lulu was his first musical inspiration when it came to love songs. They would hold hands and play house in a cardboard box, and pretend to eat meals in their house and stuff. One day, they were playing by a creek that was prone to dangerous flooding. Some older kids showed up and started pushing them around, and Lulu got shoved into the rushing water. The older kids just kind of panicked and ran away, and neither Robert nor Lulu knew how to swim. So Robert helplessly watched the fast moving current carry her away while she screamed his name. After a while, some adults showed up, and Robert and them walked downstream until they found Lulu’s lifeless body, with her head crushed against a big rock. Robert saw the whole bloody scene.
This is just one traumatic event in Robert’s life.
R Kelly grew up in a house full of women, like his older sister, his mom and her sisters, and their female friends, and it was said that when his mom or grandparents weren’t home, they would wear more revealing clothing, or like wear nightgowns with nothing underneath. He says that he started to get curious and aroused, which in turn made him kind of confused and ashamed as such a young boy.
One day he came home from school early and walked in on one of these female relatives having sex with a man. She said to him “You can watch, but you better not say shit to nobody about this.”
On another encounter where he stumbled upon this couple again, the couple directed him to take photos of them with a polaroid.
Robert said “They got into positions where I could see their private parts. I snapped the picture. When she showed me how it took only a minute to develop, I was amazed The photographic technology impressed me more than the sex. She grabbed the photo and kept it for herself. I took the memory of them doing the dirty and stashed it inside my mind’s brick box.”
On yet another occasion, 8 year old Robert fell asleep on the couch, and he woke up to a woman, who was ten years older than he, performing oral sex on him. She also threatened him to keep quiet, saying “You better not say shit to no one or else you gonna get a terrible whupping.” So he didn’t tell anyone.
They’re in the South Side of Chicago so it was also really important to him not to be a snitch.
According to Robert, the sexual contact with this woman moved on to intercourse and went on for about 6 years.
According to his brother Carey, the abuser was their older half-sister, Theresa, and she allegedly abused both of them. Carey openly blames Theresa for Robert’s hypersexuality as an adult.
Theresa has never spoken publicly about her half-brothers.
When Robert was about 10, an older man who was close to the family, they called him “Mr. Blue,” invited Robert into his apartment and gave him a piece of watermelon. Then he disappeared into the shower, and came out wearing a robe. He then opened the robe and exposed himself to Robert and offered him $5 to touch hispenis. Robert ran out the door with Mr. Blue yelling after him that he better not tell anyone. This time, Robert did speak out after he learned that a friend had a similar encounter with Mr. Blue. Joann called the police, and they never saw Mr. Blue again.
Allegedly, Joann at one point revealed to a family friend that Robert had also been abused by a man within the family, either an uncle or someone close who they just called “uncle”. From the sound of it, Robert was very confused and may have been angry at his mom for not protecting him.
Robert’s brother Carey said that a man named “Mr. Henry” exposed himself to all three brothers and that he was the one who told Joann.
According to mental health professionals, male survivors may struggle with sex addiction and sometimes be plagued with nightmares. He's been known to sleep in his bedroom closet, as he says it gives him peace of mind. He’s also said that he’s had dreams about being raped by women, or being cornered or chased and shot at.
Also, when children are sexually abused, they tend to experience things like fear and shame, but they often also feel aroused. And that’s confusing. So what happens is, the victim associates the arousal with the victimization and discomfort, and may fetishize the things they’ve experienced, like voyeurism or documenting their sexual encounters on camera.
When he was somewhere between 11-13 (it varies as he tells the story), he was shot in the shoulder while riding his bike and he still carries the bullet with him to this day. He said that two boys shot him while trying to steal his bike, but a family friend said that he was actually very, very depressed and shot himself.
Robert struggled with a learning disability, which he called “more than dyslexia”, and he didn’t know how to read or write. He also wasn’t great at math, he would struggle like when he would have to count his change to buy something at the store. So he dropped out of school and focused on music. However, he kept going back to his high school for another 6 years so that he could rehearse with the choir. He adored his music mentor, Lena McLin. He calls her his second mother. Some of Lena’s other students include Jennifer Hudson, Mandy Patinkin, and Chaka Khan. Lena actually convinced Robert to quit playing basketball to focus on music, which was a huge deal for him. Music and basketball were his two passions.
There’s a biography about R Kelly, it’s called Soulacoaster: The Diary of Me, it’s by David Ritz (that’s the same guy who wrote the biography about Marvin Gaye). In it, Robert talks about how he has this uncontrollable preoccupation with music. As a child when he would try to read, the words would jump off the pages and turn into musical notes. He thought there was something wrong with him but eventually he just embraced it.
Fun fact for ya. In 1995, R. Kelly got his first grammy after he wrote, composed, and produced Michael Jackson’s final #1 hit, “You Are Not Alone”. Interestingly, this song kind of marked the fading of Michael Jackson’s stardom, and the rising of R Kelly’s.
In 1987, Barry Hankerson, who was a record producer who was once married to Gladys Knight, and also happens to be the uncle of Aaliyah; he went to Chicago for a production of a gospel musical he was producing, and the audition is where he first heard Robert’s voice. He offered him $700 a week to be in the show, but Robert told him that he couldn’t read or memorize the lines. So instead, Robert gave Barry some of his demos, and Barry took him on as one of his client artists.
In 1991 he signed with Jive Records. He had a strong team behind him, including Barry Hankerson as his manager, and Demetrius Smith, who worked as his tour manager and personal assistant. Demetrius is one of the people who spoke on Surviving R. Kelly. He was a witness-- well, more than a witness-- to R Kelly’s marriage to Aaliyah. He stuck by Robert’s side for 13 years before quitting in 1995.
Robert’s career finally started to take off in about 1992 when he collaborated with Public Announcement for the album Born into the 90’s.
In 1993 he released his first album that was credited only to him, 12 Play. In the album cover, he’s wearing an open black vest, revealing his chest. And he’s holding a cane, which if you really look at it, you can see that it’s actually what’s called a “dirty-old-man walking stick” which essentially is a cane with an adjustable mirror at the bottom, so that you can use it to peek under women’s skirts.
Shortly after that, Joann died of cancer. This is another story that varies as Robert tells it. Once, he said that he rushed to her deathbed and she kicked him out, telling him to leave. In another account, he said that he stayed and bared his soul to her, apologized for everything he’s ever done wrong, and promised to become the greatest singer and songwriter the world has ever seen.
Robert’s brother, Carey, actually tells a different story. According to him, Robert cut off communication with Joann and basically shunned her after his career took off, supposedly because he didn’t like her husband, Lucious. Which was a lot considering how he pretty much cherished her. When Robert got his first big check from Jive, his crew shamed him for buying himself a new Mercedes, while his mom was still driving a beat up little Ford that she had to hot-wire to start.
A family friend said that he was reluctant to share anything with her and refused to deal with her medical bills, even though he had the money. This friend believes that he was angry with everyone for failing to protect him, to the point that it set off something in him and he started abusing people himself.
R Kelly & Aaliyah
Let’s talk a little bit about Aaliyah. Aaliyah was born in 1979, so she was about 12 years younger than Robert. Aaliyah also started singing in church and her parents proudly paid for years of singing lessons. When she was 10, she was on Star Search, and when she was 11, she joined her ex-aunt Gladys Knight for a 5-night stint at Bally’s Hotel here in Las Vegas.
Gladys said about Aaliyah “She was brought up in the old school, a sweet, sweet girl. She would walk into a room, and you would feel her light. She’d hug everyone, and she meant it.”
At 14, Barry started Blackground Records, and Aaliyah was the first artist he signed.
Barry then introduced her to Robert who then became her mentor, as well as lead songwriter and producer of her album Age Ain't Nothin’ But a Number.
Which, like… They may as well have called the album “I’m a pedophile.”
The song came out in May 1994, so Aaliyah was 15 by the time the album was released. And it’s basically about a young girl trying to get an older guy to sleep with her, telling him not to be afraid.
And like, Robert is literally writing these lyrics for this child to sing!
Not to mention the album cover, where Aaliyah’s posing and Robert’s like, lurking in the background, looking at her.
Robert and Aaliyah appeared on BET’s and one of the hosts said “everybody seems to think that you’re either girlfriend and boyfriend” and Aaliyah’s like “well no. We’re just very close. He’s my best friend.”
This same year, one of Robert’s backup singers, Jevonte Cunningham, allegedly caught Robert and Aaliyah having sex in a tour bus.
This is her quote:
““We were out on the road with Aaliyah. On a tour bus, there really aren’t many confined spaces. When you get on the bus there are bunks and so these bunks have little curtains you can pull at night if you don’t want anybody to see you sleeping. So, it just so happened we were all laying in our bunks and the curtains are open, everybody’s communicating, laughing. When the curtain flew open on the bus. Robert was having sex with Aaliyah.”” Aaliyah’s mom called this woman a liar, and claimed that her and her husband were always present on tours with Aaliyah.
In August 1994, Robert and Aaliyah were illegally married. Apparently, Robert called up Demetrius and told him that Aaliyah was pregnant and they needed to get married. Aaliyah was still 15, so they falsified documents to say that Aaliyah was actually 18. Some sources say that it was a surprise wedding and Aaliyah didn’t even know it was going to happen. Demetrius now says that he could see that Aaliyah was scared and uncomfortable, and he’s not proud of all of this. He’s the one who gives the most detailed account about the wedding. He wrote about it in his book The Man Behind the Man which is about his time working with Robert.
As Demetrius describes it, he and Robert flew back home while Aaliyah stayed at the hotel where they got married, but within a day, she went home to Detroit and told her parents everything.
A family member said “The issue with the family was to move on, and to totally undo what Robert Kelly did. We just thought, “this guy is stupid, he’s like a big, dumb 15 year-old himself. At the time, we didn’t think about pedophilia, it was just, ‘how dumb can you be, boy? You’re lucky we’re the family! We embraced her and she cried and she said she never wanted to see him again. We were apprehensive, and we watched her, but we never took away the freedom of the telephone or the mobility to leave the house. She just never saw him again.”
Aaliyah ended up having an abortion (allegedly, no documents have been found proving that she was really pregnant) and hey had the marriage annulled in February 1995. Demetrius reportedly quit working for Robert this same year out of disgust over his behavior, though Robert’s team claims that they actually fired him.
Barry Hankerson also started to back away from Robert after that and ended up quitting in 2000 (though Kelly’s team would again say that he was fired).
Some people, including Aaliyah’s mother, Diane, deny that Aaliyah and R. Kelly ever had any kind of sexual relationship. Robert and Aaliyah have never admitted to anything, they always said they were just very best friends. But if you’ve watched Surviving R. Kelly or looked into this case, you probably know that there are a lot of witnesses who testify that they know for a fact that the pair was engaging in a sexual relationship.
I’ll get more into detail about Robert’s other survivors in a minute here.
But one thing that always bothered me is Aaliyah’s mom, Diane, because Aaliyah was really young and she was working really closely with these older men, so you have to wonder how involved she was in Aaliyah’s work and how aware she was about what was going on in her life. Like I said, Diane denies that anything happened between Robert and Aaliyah, insisting that she would never allow anything to happen and that Robert was a good man who they could trust.
However, Lisa Van Allen, who is one of the survivors who dated Robert at one point, says that Robert told her that he actually slept with Diane too.
She revealed: "He said that when Aaliyah would go to sleep he would go into the living room and they would do sexual acts on the couch while Aayliah was asleep in the bedroom."
This makes me wonder if maybe Diane really thought that she actually thought she was Robert’s girlfriend, and maybe that was proof to her that he couldn’t be with Aaliyah.
I know that sounds naive, but one thing that all of Robert’s survivors have in common is that he’s so charming and manipulative, that they would find out months into their relationship with him that he was seeing dozens of other women (or girls).
Diane is seen on Surviving R Kelly too, if you wanna see those interviews.
In 1996, Robert was sued by Tiffany Hawkins for $10 Million. Tiffany was an aspiring singer, she met Robert in 1991 when she was 15 years old and he was 24. Apparently her and her friend saw his car and were starstruck, so they approached him and he gave them his home address and told them to bring some friends over.
She sang for him and he reportedly “fell out of his chair” when she hit a high note. This is a common story. A few of the girls that R. Kelly dated were young, aspiring singers, and they would sing to him, and he would act like he was impressed and would help them become stars. She actually sang backup for Born into the 90’s too and was a backup rapper on Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number.
So Tiffany’s story continues, she says that a bunch of people were hanging out inside of Robert’s bedroom. She would go in and out of the bedroom, and each time, he would be having sex with someone. At some point, it became an orgy.
She said all the girls there were between 14 and 16 years old, which she thought was weird, but she also figured “well this is a star, maybe this is just how things are.”
And that’s how they get ya!
Tiffany says that she and Robert had a sibling-like relationship at first. She actually introduced 5 or 6 of her friends to him, who all had sex with him, before she actually slept with him herself. Robert had a way of making her feel important and capable of anything.
Tiffany was also homeless, by the way. Her mother’s boyfriend was abusive so she had run away and was living on the streets. So Robert also provided her food and shelter at times. These are all things that unfortunately, predators seek out. They seek out vulnerable people as prey who they know don’t have a support system, and furthermore, don’t have a lot of self-esteem. That in turn makes it easier for them to convince you later that nobody wants you, and you would be stupid to leave the only person who cares about you (the abuser). Tiffany and R Kelly had sexual contact for roughly 3 years, ending just before Tiffany’s 18th birthday.
Tiffany sued him for personal injuries and severe emotional harm because she had sex with the singer and he encouraged her to participate in group sex with him and other underage girls.
The lawsuit also explains that R. Kelly would kick her out of the recording studio whenever she didn’t want to have sex. She agreed to some of the acts that he demanded in the studio and at his homes, including threesomes with underage girls, and it claimed that she traveled with Kelly and had sexual contact with him on his tour bus in Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Washington, D.C.
In 1997, Tiffany planned to use Robert and Aaliyah’s marriage certificate to show that Robert had a history of inappropriate relationships with young girls. Aaliyah filed to have that record expunged, despite the fact that she had been denying that this marriage ever happened for years.
Tiffany gave a 7.5 hour deposition to Robert’s attorneys, where she described her relationship with him and mentioned other minors.
Robert actually sued Tiffany back, claiming that she threatened to make false accusations against him if he didn’t give her big money and a record deal.
In 1998, Robert paid Tiffany $250k to drop the suit and, and she signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement., barring her from talking about any relationship or settlement with R Kelly.
Here’s something interesting. Robert actually filed a liability claim with his homeowner’s insurance to try to get them to pay Tiffany’s settlement.
If you don’t know much about insurance, homeowner’s insurance comes with a Liability portion for instances like if someone gets hurt in your home, or if your dog bites someone and then they sue you, for example.
In 1999, Hartford insurance company actually sued him for that claim. Robert appealed and Hartford responded “that the underlying complaint against the insured sufficiently set forth factual allegations of sexual misconduct with a minor to exclude coverage under an ‘expected or intended’ exclusion.”
Basically it means that the “damages” done were done intentionally, and the insurance doesn’t cover intentional damage.
A couple months later, Tiffany attempted suicide.
Rob denies all the allegations and says that he never had sex with Tiffany. This whole lawsuit was kept under wraps until the year 2000, when someone anonymously sent a fax revealing all the details to a reporter named Jim DeRogatis.
Tiffany, Jevonte, & classmate (Second Chapter)
Tiffany brought friends over to Robert’s house frequently. Among these friends was a classmate whose name hasn’t been revealed yet. According to the classmate, Robert promised to make both of them stars. He also convinced them to drop out of high school, telling them that high school won’t make them millionaires. They both ended up taking his advice, and the classmate says she deeply regrets that.
Another friend of Tiffany’s is Jevonte Cunningham. She has said a lot in this case. She was the one who testified that she had witness Robert and Aaliyah having sex on a tour bus. In Surviving R Kelly, she also describes a time in the recording studio where she sees her friend bent over and Robert.. doing her… That friend was actually 16 year old Tiffany Hawkins.
In 2000, Jim DeRogatis received an anonymous fax that said “Dear Mr. DeRogatis, I’m sending this to you because I don’t know where else to go.
You wrote about R. Kelly a couple of weeks ago and compared him to Marvin Gaye. Well, I guess Marvin Gaye had problems, too, but I don’t think they were like Robert’s. Robert’s problem-- and it’s a thing that goes back many years-- is young girls.”
The fax goes on to describe different cases of young girls that Robert has abused.
“Right now, he’s messing with a 13 year-old girl who he tells people is his goddaughter. This one has been going on for more than two years now, and her parents are turning a blind eye because Robert hired her father, who is a bass player.”
The girl she’s talking about is Reshonda Landfair, who is the niece of the singer Sparkle.
Throughout Jim’s investigation, he came across a document from 9/29/1994, which was less than a month after Robert and Aaliyah’s wedding. This document was signed by Robert, Aaliyah, and both of Aaliyah’s parents, Diane and Michael Haughton.
The agreement stipulated that in consideration of payment of $100 by Robert to Aaliyah, the two would sever all personal and professional contact and pledge to avoid any public comment about their relationship or the separation agreement, “due to the nature of the music industry and its ability to engender rumors and disseminate personal information, both true and untrue.”
Sources later revealed that Robert actually paid Aaliyah $3 million off the books.
In the agreement, Robert admits to no liability or wrongdoing, and Aaliyah and her parents discharged him from any future legal claims due to “a decline in her ability, reputation, or marketability.. Emotional distress caused by any aspect of her business or personal relationship with Robert… Or physical injury or emotional pain and suffering from any assault or battery perpetrated by Robert against her person.”
According to Demetrius, Robert was really depressed after the breakup and he checked into a hotel and spent more than a month sleeping in the closet.
Robert’s brushes with the law
9/09/94 (9 days after his wedding to Aaliyah) Robert and his crew were staying at the Michelangelo Hotel near Times Square, and police arrested two of his bodyguards in a hotel room on charges of raping and sodomizing a 22 year-old woman. It was reported that police were looking for a third suspect, and a suspect revealed to Jim that the incident actually involved Robert and an underage girl with a fake ID. The girl later withdrew her charges after Robert paid her a cash settlement.
Demetrius said that the girl tried to escape from Robert, so the two bodyguards rushed to his room and they stayed to talk to police while Robert fled. He said that Robert paid them, but then he treated them like shit. They took the fall for him, but he had no respect for them after that.
After Aaliyah and Robert split up, Aaliyah decided to leave Jive and she signed with Virgin records. An executive at Virgin said “Whenever R. Kelly comes up, she doesn’t even speak his name. When she came over to this label, we were all told on the sly, ‘don’t ever bring up R Kelly’s name.’ It’s just one of those weird topics.”
In 2000, Robert employed Regina Daniels as his publicist, and she gave Jim a statement that had exceeded what anyone on Kelly’s team was allowed to say, and she got in trouble for it later.
“Rob did date Aaliyah, yes, he did, and he did have a relationship with Aaliyah, yes, he did, and past that, unfortunately, it didn’t work out and that was really that. Did they have a relationship? Yes, they did. I’m not gonna sit here and bullshit you or nobody else about it. Yes, they did. Did they get married? Well, there was a marriage certificate, so that pretty much kinda means something happened there. Was I there? No, I wasn’t, but there was a relationship. It ended with, ‘maybe we’re over our heads, maybe this is too much, maybe we need to go our separate ways. I love you, I always will, I wish you the best, and maybe we just jumped in way too deep into this thing.’ And she went her way and he went his.”
In 1996, Robert married a 22 year old dancer named Andrea Lee, who also goes by Drea. This marriage wasn’t mentioned much in media. Demetrius said “He married Andrea to take the attention off of Aaliyah, but he never talks about her.” He continues that Robert never stopped pursuing other girls.
In 1999, Robert started talking to a 17 year old girl who had no idea he was married. His assistant snuck a little piece of paper with Robert’s phone number into her hand, and the two started talking over the phone. They had phone-sex and Robert told her that they were soulmates. She believed he loved her, so when he sent her a plane ticket to visit him in Chicago for her 18th birthday, she had sex with him for the first time. As soon as she found out they were married, they started fighting though and eventually stopped hooking up.
So far, there’s been a handful of girls that we’ve mentioned who were abused by Robert up to the year 2000. Let’s go back to the fax that Jim got that mentions a 13 year old girl who Robert is allegedly currently messing with (at the time of the fax in 2000).
It says that Robert tells people the girl is his goddaughter and that he hired her father to play bass for him.
Ok so, R Kelly released the album TP-2.com in 2000. In the liner notes, he gives thanks to his “goddaughter Reshona, Greg, and Valerie). Now, there’s someone named Greg Landfair who is credited as the guitarist on TP-2.com, and he’s got a wife named Valerie and a daughter named Reshonda, who also goes by Reshona.
Reshona was now 14 and 4 sources confirmed that she had ongoing sexual contact with Robert. Robert was also having sex with another girl who was close to Reshona, and was only 13. This girl's identity hasn’t been revealed.
Jim wasn’t able to get any information from Reshona or her parents. But he was able to get in contact with her aunt Stephanie Edwards, who is also known as the singer Sparkle.
Sparkle was once married to Earl Robinson who was a member of Public Announcement with Robert. She sang backup on Age Ain’t Nothing But a Number, where she got to know Aaliyah’s posse, the Second Chapter girls.
By all accounts, Robert tried to seduce Sparkle, but she wasn’t having it.She wanted to keep the relationship strictly professional. Sparkle introduced Robert to her family, including her brother in law Greg Landfair and her niece, Reshonda.
She introduced Reshonda to Robert when she was 12 because she’s a rapper, and she was hoping Robert could help her get her foot in the door.
According to Sparkles, she would come to the studio sometimes and Reshonda would be there. She would be like “what are you doing here? Who’s here with you?” and Reshonda would say “I got dropped off.” This made Sparkles livid. She couldn’t believe that she was left alone with Robert.
By December 2000, Reshonda and her parents had been interviewed twice already, and all denied that she had ever had any kind of sexual contact with Robert.
Jim got an email from an anonymous source who worked with DCFS, that stated that Reshona’s parents “apparently let Kellly take the girl on the road with him and have sexual relations with her, with their full knowledge and consent,”
On December 21, 2000, Jim and his partner released a story in the Chicago Sun-Times titled R. Kelly accused of having sex with Teenage Girls.
Unfortunately, it didn’t get a lot of attention. Other news and media outlets didn’t report on it, and fans weren’t phased either. An editor interviewed members of R Kelly’s audience at a holiday concert, and one 18 year old fan said “His personal life doesn’t really concern me.” A 29 year old woman said “I know Robert. It’s not like him. It’s a publicity stunt on the girls’ part.”
So by this point, R Kelly has literally had a pattern of predatory behavior for about a decade. Lives were ruined. Tiffany Hawkins tried to kill herself. And nobody seemed to care.
Throughout Jim’s investigation, he kept hearing mention about “the girl in Miami,” but he was never able to identify or locate this girl, until 18 years later when she emailed him in 2018. This was Lizzette Martinez, and she was 17 years old the first time she had sex with Robert.
Lizzette Martinez was also an aspiring singer. She met Robert one day in 1995 while strolling around the mall. She saw him walking around with a body guard and she squealed and said “Oh, that’s R. Kelly!” He overheard her and went over and gave her a hug. After he walked away, the bodyguard pressed a piece of paper with his phone number in her hand and told her that she should meet them later by the Sports Authority.
Lizzette and her friend met up with Robert and his crew and they took them to Outback Steakhouse. Lizzette noticed that Barry Hankerson kept looking at her with fatherly concern, like he felt bad and wanted to help her.
The age of consent was 18 in Florida, so she told him honestly “I’m 17 and I’m in high school,” and Robert was just like “oh, okay.” She also told him that she’s a singer, and he sounded super eager to audition her and help her out, just acting like the coolest guy in the world.
Lizzette’s friend was very direct and less shy, and she just came out and asked him “Didn’t you marry Aaliyah?” This was 1995 so it was just months after that marriage was annulled. But man, I love the balls on this girl. She’s like 17 and the first person to just point out that pattern.
But she didn’t know that Barry was Aaliyah’s uncle, and he was sitting RIGHT there, so Lizzette was mortified.
Robert just said “You can’t believe everything you read.”
The next day, the girls went to visit him at the recording studio and she sang for him. He made her promises of helping her write songs and signing her as an artist when he starts his own label. But that never happened. Lizzette would write her songs alone and Robert would always claim to be busy.
Lizzette didn’t drink or do drugs. One night she went to a party at Robert’s house and his friend gave her alcohol. She didn’t drink, but she took it, and she started to black out, her drink was probably drugged with something. She lost her virginity to Robert that night.
The girls kept coming around the studio and one of the body guards was making eyes at Lizzette’s friend, but she wasn’t into it. She pretty much was just doing her best to stay close to Lizzette and protect her. But whenever they were at the studio, the bodyguard would pull her to the side while Kelly took Lizzette into another room.
Robert was very careful to make sure that no one ever saw him with Lizzette, and she felt like he was trying to keep her hidden. Before long, he pressured her to tell her friend to stop coming along.
Lizzette’s parents got word that she was dating an older man and they didn’t approve, so she moved out and stayed at her friends house and spent most of her time in the studio or at Robert’s hotel in Miami, and then in Chicago.
She says that early on, Robert had people follow her and keep tabs on her at all times. One of the first instances of abuse was when she was 17 and she looked at someone, and I guess Robert took her outside and smacked her and told her that she is not allowed to look at anyone except him. She just cried and said “ok” and that’s basically what she did from then on when he would abuse her.
She had to ask for permission to use the bathroom or eat, sometimes he would withhold food to punish her. He humiliated her by making her perform sex acts in front of his friends.
Lizzette knew that Robert was seeing other women, but she had no idea he was married. She found out about a year after he married Drea.
The relationship had warning signs but they came in phases and she didn’t recognize them by the way. She started making her call him “Daddy” and controlling what she wore. He was known to make his girlfriends wear baggy clothes so they wouldn’t be appealing to other men. He soon made her ask for food, like he had to allow her to eat, and he pressured her to perform sexual acts against her will, like anal sex and threesomes with other girls.
Again, he’s her first. She’s never had sex with anyone before Robert, so she was getting vibes that Robert was into some stranger things sexually, but she really didn’t understand for sure. And he would like, charm her and talk her into it.
He started abusing her when he didn’t like how she behaved. Like a couple of times, he just smacked the shit out of her for glancing in another man’s direction. He’d be like “when you’re sitting at the table, you only look at me and you only talk to me.”
One night, Lizzette asked him if he had other girls over, and he just beat the shit out of her. He grabbed her and drug her into another room, and security came. They asked her if she was ok, but Robert was hiding behind the door giving her looks as if saying “if you say something, I’m really gonna kill you” so she just responded “i’m fine.”
After getting physical, he would be all, “I love you, I love you, I’m sorry, you know I’m going to help you and do everything for you, but you have to listen to me.”
During her senior year of high school, she found out she was pregnant. but sadly, she miscarried a few days later. She tried to contact Robert but he was nowhere to be found.
The final straw was about a year later when she caught mononucleosis. Apparently he had mono first and didn’t tell her. She went to the hospital and they told her she had mono and to go home, so she called and called him but he wouldn’t answer.
The mono actually turned into Guillain-Barre which is a disorder where your body’s immune system attacks your nerves. She was very, very sick, her body was shutting down and she was almost completely paralyzed. Her lungs almost collapsed. She spent almost 3 weeks in intensive care in Miami. Her parents called him and he sent her mom a check for $1,000. He never went to visit or called to see how she was or anything. That was really painful for her and she decided to walk away from him.
Lizzette basically gave up on music, she decided she didn’t want to do it anymore, she just wanted a normal life.
She was able to move on. She married a high school crush and had twins. She kept quiet for years until she saw a report on tv that mentioned Robert settling several lawsuits brought by other underage girls. She contacted a lawyer named Susan Loggans, but decided not to move forward with a case. Susan Loggans did, however, spend the next two decades pursuing cases brought by underage girls against R Kelly. She’s represented at least 6 girls against R. Kelly, as far as what’s been confirmed.
Most of these cases were settled out of court and only 3 lawsuits were actually filed against Robert by Susan’s firm. The first case was Tiffany Hawkins. The second is Tracy Sampson.
Tracy Sampson was 16 when she met Robert. She was an aspiring rapper, but she also wanted to work in all aspects of the music business. So she got an internship in marketing with Epic Records. She tagged along with her supervisor to an expo and that’s where she met Robert.
She asked him for an autograph, he hugged her, and he wrote down his phone number and said “call me.” and then hugged her again.
Tracy at first talked to him on the phone, and then he invited her to his studio in Chicago.
According to the lawsuit, Robert led Tracy by the hand into a room, where they kissed, and then he asked her for a handjob. She refused, and then he started to masturbate himself in front of her.
The sexual contact between Tracy and Robert went on from spring of 2000 to the fall of 2001. Jim and his partner were shocked to find this out, because they were literally investigating R Kelly during this time, and there he was preying on another underage girl.
Tracy has said “I was lied to by him. I was coerced into receiving oral sex from a girl I did not want to have sex with. I was often treated as his personal sex object and cast aside. He would tell me to come to his studio and have sex with him, and then tell me to go. He often tried to control every aspect of my life, including who I would see and where I would go. During our sexual encounters, he would make me do disgusting things like stick my finger up his butt. As a result of this relationship, I am seeing a counselor. I have increased stress in my life. I am afraid of trusting people. I get headaches whenever I see or hear Robert Kelly. I cry when I think about him and what he made me do.”
She later said that during sex, Robert would often say “tell Daddy how old you are.”
The lawsuit included records about Tracy’s psychiatric care, travel records, and phone records, corroborating her account of the relationship.
This case was also settled out of court. Robert paid Tracy $250,000, just like Tiffany, to drop the lawsuit, and Tracy signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement., just like Tiffany.
Tracy was fired from her internship, her supervisor told her that she was a stupid bitch and she shouldn’t have talked to him.
That supervisor sounds like a cunt too, she says that “Rob is a nice guy and he’s just troubled,” and totally victim-blamed, saying shit like “girls like to get themselves in these situations and then turn around and sue the man. They’re just starstruck”
Biiiiiiitch. Like, these are children. Of course they’re starstruck, and he’s a grown man taking advantage of that. Promising to make them stars. Most of these girls are virgins and don’t even know what’s normal or not.
In 2002, brought her third claim against Robert. This was Patrice Jones, who met Robert in 1998 when she was 16. For the first time, many of the media outlets in Chicago reported on this lawsuit the day it was filed Robert’s attorneys denied the accusations and vowed to never settle.
8 months later, they paid Patrice to drop the lawsuit in exchange for signing a Non-Disclosure Agreement.
Patrice’s story is just as bad as all the others. She met Robert at a Rock n’ Roll McDonalds. Apparently, Robert hung out here often, presumably to meet young teenage girls.
According to the lawsuit, in December 1998 around 11:30 PM, Patrice and her cousin, Shareese, walked into the McDonalds wearing gowns, after a winter ball at their school. They spotted Robert staring at them and they instantly fangirled. They giggled and waved at him, and he smiled and waved back. One of his bodyguards approached Patrice and, once again, handed her a balled up napkin with a phone number written on it, and said that Robert wants her to call him, but she shouldn’t tell anyone.
Naturally, she instantly told Shareese. They ran outside to their limo where their dates were waiting, and gushed about it to them. They didn’t believe the girls, so they went and side and sure enough, they saw R. Kelly sitting there, right in front of their eyes.
The whole group was really excited, except for Patrice’s date. He had heard stories about R Kelly’s “taste” and said that he had once tried to pick up his sister.
Patrice was also an aspiring singer. A week after the ball, she called the number on the napkin, and Robert invited her to visit his studio in Chicago.
Dude, every single one of these cases starts exactly the same!
Patrice told Robert that she was 16, but it wasn’t long before they started having sex. Patrice’s lawsuit alleges that she had sex with Robert, and sometimes another woman would be there to watch them have sex. It also states that Robert’s “aunt” took her shopping for clothes at his direction.
Robert often called his publicist, Regina Daniels, “Aunt Regina”, although they’re not related.
Again, Robert pledged his love to Patrice and promised that he would help launch her music career, but they never recorded together.
In September 1999 when Patrice was 17, she informed Robert that she was pregnant. Robert insisted on an abortion, so the bodyguard took her to get one, but she told the doctor that she’d changed her mind and left, still allegedly carrying Robert’s baby.
That night, Robert put her up in a hotel and when he went there to see her, he exploded She says that she cried inconsolably and through his anger, threats, and persuasion, and then finally, he started crying, saying his career would be ruined, he convinced her to get the abortion.
The next day, she went back to the clinic and admitted that she had lied about her age (saying she was 18 when she was only 17), and again, tried to flee without getting the abortion.
The bodyguard went after her and dragged her back to the clinic, and paid for the abortion with $300 in cash.
The relationship ended less than 3 months later, in December 1999, but Patrice was crushed.
This lawsuit was also settled in 2003 in exchange for another Non-Disclosure Agreement.
None of these cases that Susan Loggans took ever led to criminal charges against Robert. She had said “You can’t turn these into criminal cases unless the girls are really dedicated to being witnesses, and they’re coming to me as a civil lawyer. They’re coming to me saying ‘I have a case against R. Kelly.’ They know all I can do is sue for money and damages. I’ve never done a criminal case in my lifetime.”
Something to consider, though, is that these girls were children. They were young, and after the word got out that Tiffany hired Susan Loggans, teenagers may have started to trust her. Not only that, but the girls Loggans represented came from black neighborhoods with long histories of reasons not to trust law enforcement.
If you think about it, Susan screwed them. She’s represented at least 3 girls so far, and Robert keeps getting away with this shit, finding new girls to prey on, and she’s literally just like accepting payments in exchange for NDA’s, instead of encouraging her clients to press criminal charges.
When Jim asked her about her views on the girls she represented, this is what she had to say:
“They don’t look at it negatively when it’s happening, they look at it as a positive thing, that R. Kelly is their boyfriend. It’s not until later when he dumps them and then they try to get a job in the music industry that they realize that they’re blackballed. They get older and realize that they screwed up and they fell for it. It’s like any young girl feels when she gets dumped by a guy. At that point they start telling people, ‘look at this bad thing that happened to me,’ and when they come to us as a civil lawyer, there’s no benefit to them to bring a civil case.”
I hate this bitch.
Well that quote didn’t age well, with the #MeToo movement bringing new scrutiny to men who abuse their power to sexually assault women. So Jim interviewed her again and read her quote to her, and he asked her if she stood by that comment.
She said “Yep, that’s true.” She then reminded Jim that she has a degree in psychology and wondered why he was still bothering with R. Kelly.
I mean, all that tells me is that, she’s arrogant.
But I don’t have a degree in psychology, so what do I know.
Alright well this story is already long as fuck so I’m going to stop here for part 1. There’s still a lot to talk about, there’s a shit ton more victims, and the trial that eventually happens, and then new victims and a sex cult. So bear with me, because there’s a lot that you guys need to hear about.
Oh yea, before I forget, a couple of days ago, a story came out that a young man, or I think it was actually a 17 year old boy, has accused R. Kelly of sexually assaulting him. I’ll cover that in part 2 or 3 but if you want to look it up so you know what I’m talking about, you’ll see that his story is very similar to Robert’s past victims.
Thanks again for listening to Broken Limelight. You can now follow Broken Limelight Podcast on Facebook, or if you’re on TikTok or Instagram, you can follow me there too. The links are listed on the website, brokenlimelight.com. I’ll also be uploading show notes and photos about this case, so be sure to check that out.
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See you next time, bye!
Episode 10: R. Kelly Part 2
Remember when I mentioned that Robert had a fascination with photography after he was made to photograph his relative having sex?
As an adult, he videotaped his sexual encounters and then he’d keep the tapes in a duffle bag that he would take with him everywhere. Like everywhere. On the tour bus, he would sometimes show the tapes to people. According to Demetrius, he wasn’t very careful and would leave the duffle bag on the bus, and tapes would sometimes go missing.
According to one source, there were even tapes of Robert having sex with Aaliyah, but those tapes were supposedly destroyed.
In January 2001, 2 weeks after Jim and his partner published their first story, a FedEx envelope with an unmarked VHS tape arrived in the Sun-Times mailroom.
-If you don’t know what a VHS tape is, do me a favor and google it. I’m not in the mood to cry about my old right now.-
Whoever sent the tape typed Jim Derogatis’ name as both the sender and the recipient. He tried to look into it, but all he could confirm was that the sender paid cash at a FedEx drop off center, and they couldn’t tell where it originated from.
Jim and his partner watched the tape.
The video was about 2 and a half minutes long, and it showed a light-skinned black girl with long black hair kneeling on a pillow. She was wearing over a bra and panties, and she was performing oral sex on Robert. He looked bored, he literally picked his nose, and he took off his sweatshirt like halfway through the video. You could see a little bit around the room, like there was a sink with a gold faucet to his right, a microwave to his left, and a rack of VCR’s in the background.
Robert repositioned the girl to get ready for intercourse, and the tape ended abruptly right there.
The girl in the video looked underage, but of course there’s no way to know for sure until she’s identified. So Jim and his partner spent 12 days trying to figure that out.
Based on what they had, they ruled out:
Reshona Landfair, Tiffany Hawkins, Tracy Sampson.
The day after they got the tape, Jim was sitting in his living room watching a movie with friends, and someone shot through a window. It was unnerving, since he lived in a safe, yuppie neighborhood and gunfire was not normal there, but he didn’t report it to the police, because he didn’t know if it was connected to his investigation into R Kelly.
So, Jim and Abdon (the partner) didn’t know what to do with the tape. They talked about it long and hard because journalists aren’t supposed to like, do police work. But they considered that the female subject of the tape could be in trouble. As much as they didn’t want to become a part of the story, they agreed to turn the tape in to the police.
They didn’t report on that tape until a year later.
There were sex tapes of R. Kelly’s that got out though and were being sold on the streets. They featured two clips. One was the girl in the tape that was sent to Jim. The other was a clip of Montina Woods.
Montina Woods was the 4th person to sue Robert, in May 2002. Her name is Montina Woods and she was the first legal-age woman to sue him. She was also the first lawsuit that Susan Loggans wasn’t involved in.
In the lawsuit, Montina claimed that in the summer of 1999 when she was 30 years old, Robert filmed her having sex with him, without her consent. She sought damages for intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy.
She also named as defendants: Trax Studio, Jive Records, and Kelly’s accountant, citing all of them for negligence in having “knowledge of the performer’s sexual misconduct and failing to act to prevent further harm to the public sector in securing any type of treatment for R Kelly, who had generated income on their behalf.”
Montina was actually one of Robert’s dancers. In 1999, she was in the concert at the end of the Get Up on a Room tour, the part where there’s a woman on a giant bed, that’s Montina Woods.
Apparently, Montina also settled out of court in exchange for signing an NDA.
The identity of the girl or woman from the other tape hasn't been figured out yet. Since it’s unknown whether the subject of the tape is of age or not, it’s not clear if there’s really a crime being committed there. However, this wasn’t the only sex tape that would be discovered.
And I’m sure you already know that I’m talking about the notorious R. Kelly pee-tape.
Ok so remember Reshona Landfair? Reshona was the young girl who Robert calls his goddaughter, [in the podcast episode, I said that Robert refers to her as his “daughter”. That was a mistake, I totally meant to say “goddaughter”] and she’s also Sparkle’s niece. So when Jim released the first story on Robert, he didn’t mention Reshona because he wasn’t able to interview the family or really confirm anything about her.
Interestingly, about 6 weeks after the story ran, Jim got a cease and desist letter from the Landfair’s lawyer, basically saying that even though they didn’t name her, the whole town knows that the Landfairs are close with R Kelly.
Jim wasn’t too worried. To him, this just confirmed that he was on to something.
In December 2001, Sparkle called Jim. She told him “When you talked to me last year, I couldn’t say anything, but I’ve since gotten proof. This is not a rumor, this is something that I totally seen with my eyes. I got a phone call on Friday stating that there was a tape surfacing with my niece, and I know you can’t publish minors’ names, but I was just like okay, is it true, is it true, is it true? So two of my friends actually viewed the tape and know my family personally, so they know it was my niece.”
She said that a man claiming to represent an attorney named Buddy Meyers went to her apartment and gave her the lawyer’s card and showed her the videotape. She went ballistic when she saw it. The guy left with the tape and she never heard from him again. She started calling around and trying to get in touch with her sister, Valerie Landfair. Apparently they were now estranged ever since Sparkle told them to keep their daughter away from R. Kelly.
Sparkle tried calling both the police as well as the department of family services, but in both cases, she was told that they couldn’t do anything without the tape. So she called Jim.
At first he thought she was talking about the first sex tape they had received in the FedEx envelope, but she went on to describe a much longer and more disturbing video.
Reshona was 17 at this point, and based on her hairstyle, Sparkle says that Reshona was 14 in the video.
Jim reached out to the lawyer, Buddy Meyer. But Buddy insisted that he’s not working with R. Kelly or anyone associated with him.
In February 2002, Jim was at work when he got a phone call. A gruff-baritone voice on the other end said “go to your mailbox” and then hung up. Jim knew what this was.
Jim went home and checked his mailbox, and in it was an unmarked VHS cassette in a blank manila envelope. This video was a whole 26 minutes and 39 seconds long, and it seemed to be shot in the same location as the first short they received.
Kelly’s crew members called this room the “Colorado Room” or the “log-cabin playroom.” They determined that the tape was made sometime between 1998-1999.
This video starts with a man (supposedly it’s clearly Robert) adjusting the camera, and then handing something to a fully dressed girl, allegedly Reshona Landfair.
By the way, I haven’t seen any of these videos. People who’ve seen it say that it’s clearly Reshona (like Sparkles).
Ok so if you haven’t heard the details of this video.. It’s pretty fucked up. I mean aside from the fact that it’s a CHILD in a sex tape, the sexual acts are not…. They’re not for everyone? They might make you kind of sick. No judgement if you like this stuff! But in this case, this was a child who shouldn’t even know these things exist at that age and is not old enough to truly consent.
So in the video, Reshona says “thank you” and then performs fellatio on Robert. The video cut out, and came back with Reshona, naked, dancing for him on the ledge of the hot tub. He’s giving her directions, like “dance faster, baby.”
Then, as he directs her to do, she peed on the floor outside the hottub, and then straddled him and they had intercourse. You can hear him call her “Shona” and she calls him “Daddy.” He says “daddy fuck you?” and she says “yes daddy.”
Her eyes were vacant, and her expression showed no signs of pleasure or emotion at all. The tape cut out again, and came back with the girl lying on the bench next to the hot tub, giving Robert head again, and then opening her mouth as he urinated in it, and over her chest and stomach, before fondling himself and ejaculating, and that’s where the video ends.
Yuck. Ugh. I know.
Jim showed this tape to his bosses and then they turned it over to the police (after he made a copy of it).
He then called Sparkles. He had to show her the tape and find out if it was the same one she had seen, and if the victim in it was Reshona. It was the same tape and it was Reshona.
Sparkle felt overwhelmingly guilty. Remember, she was the one who introduced Reshona to Robert. She also says that she can tell from the tape that they had been doing these sexual acts for a while, like, Shona knew what she was supposed to do, almost as if following a script.
Now that Jim was watching the video with Sparkle, they saw that what Robert handed her in the beginning was cash. This set off Sparkles. She broke down, sobbing. She was like “she’s not a fucking whore!”
Jim called Robert’s attorney’s and told them that he was in possession of this tape, and that he could come in and watch it and comment. He declined, saying it was an “invitation he was unable to accept at the time.”
So Jim and his partner Abdon went back to Reshona’s house. They went back like 3 or 4 times and nobody was ever home. They found out that they were actually in Europe on tour with 4 the Cause, which was an R&B group that Reshona was in with her 2 cousins. The family never returned Jim’s phone calls, and according to Sparkle, they weren’t answering calls from relatives either.
Abdon called a video expert, who said that the possibility of fabricating this tape was “slim to none”. It’s 26 minutes of putting someone else’s head on someone’s body, and the ability to edit digital videos on home computers wasn’t widely available until the mid-2000s.
Robert’s attorneys later called Jim and said that any tape he has is a fake and that the timing of it is suspicious.
See, Robert was getting ready to perform at the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.
This wasn’t planned, but Jim and Abdon say that the story wasn’t ready to be released a minute sooner.
Before Robert took the stage, Robert, then 35, said “It’s not true. All I know is this: I have a few people in the past that I’ve fired… people that I’ve thought were my friends that’s not my friends. It's crap, and that’s how we’re going to treat it. The reason these things are happening, I really do believe, is because of the fact that I didn’t fall back as far as blackmail was concerned. I didn’t give them any money. The world is getting ready to watch me sing a song called ‘The World’s Greatest’ and you’ve got a tape out there trying to ruin my career. I feel like I owe my fans.”
This time, the story got a lot of attention. News outlets were reporting it and black women were urging boycotts of stores selling R Kelly’s music and radio stations playing his songs.
Jive Records released a statement:
“R Kelly has been with Jive Records for eleven years, and we fully support him and his music.”
In March 2002, Robert collaborated with Jay-Z on an album called The Best of Both Worlds. It wasn’t as successful as they had hoped. Jay-Z distanced himself from Robert and cancelled a tour they had planned.
Some of Robert’s peers actually did speak up though.
Nas told a concert audience “we’re not up here molesting children. We’re not ‘The Best of Both Worlds’. Sisqo released a new track with the call-out “The world’s greatest? Whatever / Ain’t nothing but a child molester.
Dr. Dre had shelved a single by his own protege, because it featured a cameo by R Kelly.
He said “I haven’t seen the video, nor do I want to see it, because there’s a kid involved. That’s where I draw the line.”
In April 2002, Robert sold the house where the sex tapes were made (the ones that have been discovered, anyway). Abdon took this opportunity to view the house now that it was vacant.
He was most interested in the Colorado room. He noted that there were video cameras mounted on a wall and on the ceiling above the hot tub. Sources said that Robert also had an identical room in his new mansion.
Investigators wanted to examine another property of Robert’s, the Olympia Fields mansion, as they were hoping to find the clothes that he was wearing in the video. But The supervisor of the child sex abuse unit refused to request a warrant for that property.
The Landfairs still weren’t talking and they were not letting investigators anywhere near Reshona. Robert did an interview on BET which aired on May 8th 2002.
Robert said that he’s done things in his life that he’s trying to get help for. He didn’t specify what he needed help with. His attorney said that he was taken to a doctor to get shots to curb his sex drive.
Ms. Landfair testified before a grand jury in 2002 that she was not the girl in the videotape and has so far refused to testify against Mr. Kelly.
I’m going to change the subject for a second because I want to keep this timeline in order.
In August 2001, Aaliyah died in a plane crash at 22 years old. She was in the Bahamas shooting a music video for Rock the Boat. The morning after filming, sheboaraded a chartered plane with members of the video crew. The plane crashed shortly after takeoff, killing everyone on board.
Kelly’s crew had a theory that Barry and Sparkle were using the tape to blackmail Robert. The story was that Rob and Barry had a bad falling out over Aaliyah, and when Aaliyah died, it pushed Barry over the edge. Barry had a lot of guilt for pushing them together.
When asked about whether he thinks this is all a smear campaign on Barry’s part, Robert suddenly seems unprepared and starts stammering and stumbling over his words. He started sweating.Less than a month later, Robert was indicted. He was charged with 21 counts of making child pornography; 7 counts of videotaping each specific act, 7 counts of producing the video for each specific act, and 7 counts of soliciting an underage partner for each specific sex act. He was facing a prison term of up to 15 years and a fine of $100k if convicted.
Robert was arrested at his home in Florida. He spent one night in jail and the judge agreed to let him go back to Chicago on his own recognizance but told him that he has to have no contact with any minor children not related by blood or marriage.
Kelly paid his bond of $750,000 all in $100 bills. He smiled out of the courtroom and said to reporters that he looked forward to proving his innocence. Then, he and his team got into a car and drove to Salem Baptist Church,where Robert sang for fifty children and their parents at a kindergarten graduation ceremony.
Which like…. They JUST told him he can’t have any contact with minors! He literally said “yes ma’am, and then walked out the door and went directly to a kindergarten graduation.
A news report said that the stipulation of not associating with minors only applied in Florida.
Which like, wtf? I hope that’s not true but if it is, it sounds like a loophole designed specifically for people like R. Kelly.
Ok so in the months that followed, he kept making music. He produced a song called Heaven I need a Hug seemed to take the form of a letter to his dead mother. Greg Landfair worked on this song too.
The song has a line that says “So shower down on me, wet me with your love” and “shower down on me” is like a catch line that’s repeated throughout the song.
A former associate of Robert’s was quoted as saying “I know Robert, and he knows exactly what he’s doing. He’s smarter than everybody thinks, and what he’s doing, he’s fucking with all of us.”
Robert’s team apparently did everything possible to delay his trial. It took 6 years for him to see his day in court, which was like record breaking. But it’s a common tactic in cases of sexual abuse of a minor. See, by the time they go to court, the victim will be a grown woman. In this case, Reshonda Landfair was 23 by the time the case went to trial.
The idea is that the jury will only see this grown woman who is in the courtroom, and not focus so much on the young girl in the video.
The worst part is, he was lucky enough to get Judge Vincent Gaughan assigned to his case, who was totally starstruck. Not only that, but he’s got a pretty hazy history.
Judge Gaughan was known as a kooky fellow. He fought in Vietnam and when he returned home, he had a PTSD episode where he grabbed his rifle and started shooting out of his upstairs bedroom window. He shot into a neighbor’s house, hitting the wall above their bed. Police went to the couple’s house to investigate, and two more shots came through the window, just barely missing the officers.
So he was charged with 4 counts of aggravated assault and weapons violations, but the charges seem to have disappeared. Reporters, including Jim and Abdon, were unable to find documentation of those charges.
Abdon had actually written an article in 1998 about a list of 9 judges who were deemed “not recommended” by one or more bars, and Gaughan was on that list.
The Sun-Times petitioned to make all of Robert’s court records public before the trial, a motion that Gaughan rejected, and the Illinois Supreme Court sided with him.
Just for perspective, the record of what’s happened over the past 6 years included 168 entries with at least 50 motions by the defense, and 56 court orders issued by Gaughan, and they remain sealed to the public.
And that’s just the motions that are documented here, some could’ve been withdrawn or ruled on in chambers, for all we know.
There was a case where a white cop shot a black teenager in the back 16 times, and Gaughan also seemed to bend over backwards for the cop, until the Illinois Supreme court finally scolded him for “patently unconstitutional conduct.”
What’s more problematic is that Gaughan consistently sided with the defense’s contention that prior bad acts should be excluded. In other words, Gaughan ruled any evidence not directly related to the tape of Reshonda as inadmissible.
Anything that had to do with Tiffany Hawkins, Tracy Sampson, Patrice Jones, Montina Woods, the marriage to Aaliyah, or payments made by Robert to the Landfairs.
So the jury actually knew very little about Robert’s history. To them, the pee tape was an isolated crime.
In 2004, about a year and a half after Robert was indicted, Gaughen granted a motion by the defense to drop 7 of the 21 charges, because they supposedly cited “outdated language prosecutors took from a law that the Illinois Supreme Court had declared unconstitutional.
Robert still faced 15 years in prison if convicted on the 14 cases of making child pornography, but the ruling gave everyone an early indication that Gaughan was skeptical about this case.
In June of 2002, police arrested Robert on a warrant issued in Chicago, and they thoroughly searched 2 of his properties. One property was the home where his wife Drea and their kids were (Drea was actually in the hospital giving birth to their third baby, so the kids were home with a nanny).
The second property was where Robert and his crew would record music and party. While searching the party house, they found a bedroom door marked “Do Not Enter”, and in it, there was a duffel bag that contained a digital camera wrapped in a towel.
7 months later, police revealed that the camera included 12 images of a naked underage girl-- Reshonda Landfair.
A couple of the photos showed Robert and Reshonda having a threesome with a woman who was above legal age. This woman has never come forward or revealed her identity. Jim figured out who she was, but she would not talk to him.
In 2003, while filming the video for Ignition (Remix), he was arrested again on a warrant that had been issued in Polk County charging him with 12 additional counts of possession of child pornography.
Each count carried a maximum 5-year sentence. Kelly posted the $12,000 bail, and he walked out of jail 3 hours later.
Robert’s spokespeople accused the court of just finding accusations to pile on top of him. The Florida court abruptly shut the case down, stating that the digital images were inadmissible because they’d been obtained illegally. Supposedly the officers had no probable cause to search Kelly’s homes for child porn, even though they were executing a warrant for Illinois indictments on making child pornography. Polk County dropped the charges.
Robert said “My faith in our system of justice has never wavered, and with this victory behind me, I look forward to clearing my name in Illinois. I am confident that when all the facts come out, people will see that I’m no criminal.”
This asshole is really, really fearless, man. He really believes that he’ll never get apprehended for this shit.
In 2003 Robert released the album Chocolate Factory which debuted at No 1 on the Billboard albums chart. It sold more than 2 million copies. It had hits like the Ignition Remix and Step In the Name of Love--
I have to say this. I hate that this man is so brilliant. Step in the Name of Love, like man, that’s catchy. Even I won’t deny this guy’s musical genius. But ugh, he’s in the MIDDLE of all these allegations and people were still supporting his music like crazy!
I was like, young when this all happened. In 2003, I was about 12 or 13. In fact, I’m only about a year older than one of R. Kelly’s victims, Jerhonda Pace. I remember when the pee-tape came out, it was a huge deal. But nobody was talking about it as a serious crime, if anything, I remember it being a big joke. Everyone was repeating Dave Chapelle’s jokes about R Kelly. I remember thinking, “well this guy is still making music and he’s not in jail” it didn’t really occur to me that he was doing something illegal. I just thought he had weird sexual tastes. I don’t know if I knew that the girl in the video was a minor, but I get the feeling that I just assumed this was all just gossip, the girl probably was of age or something, but all in all, he was still making music and he was performing all over the place, people were still like swooning over him. So I didn’t even think about “wow, this guy should be in prison” and that’s the whole problem. Not only is he just owning this sexual persona, but the media and the courts were totally downplaying the seriousness of the allegations.
I mean this wasn’t like a fun, Pamela Anderson sex tape. This was a 14 year old child getting peed on by a 35 year old man, and the tape started circulating while she was still in high school. Her classmates even saw or heard about it.
Most of Robert’s fans dismissed the charges against him, or decided that they could love him as an artist and not worry about his personal life.
I mean he is kind of proving that after every dark allegation, he can just release a catchy new hit that families would play at their backyard barbecues!
Around this time, people started calling him “The Pied Piper”. The Pied Piper is a story from the Middle Ages. The Pied Piper would play his magic flute and lure mice out of their holes, and then kill them.
Actually what’s interesting is that Robert was the one to call himself The Pied Piper first, because he started using flute sounds in the music. The irony truly seems lost on him. He says he never heard the story of the rats being lured to their deaths.
In 2004, a woman named Kim Delaney (I called her Kelly in the podcast, but her name is Kim) reached out to Jim. She said that she met Robert in 1990 and they were lovers for a while, but they stopped sleeping together and became really close friends. In 1998, she published a children’s book called I can Fly: The R. Kelly Story with Robert’s blessing. His team helped her promote it.
She says that she totally believes in Rob, he has an amazing story. But she also said that she believed he needed help for his “sexual addiction”.
She also wrote a book called Star Struck which was a lightly fictional tale about her and Robert’s friendship. It’s about the narrator, Lela, becoming concerned about her best friend, an R&B superstar named Ben, loses control of his sexual impulses.
She included a passage that talked about a scandalous video and mentioned that the tape managed to reach a journalist who had written several stories about Ben’s troubles with women.
She told Jim that she knew who he was from the very beginning, saying that she was “instrumental”.
She didn’t go into detail about how she was instrumental, but she did confirm that she was friends with Sparkles and had seen Reshona in Kelly’s circle, though she never saw anything inappropriate.
Another passage describes a conversation between Ben and Lela after the videotape went public Ben says that the aunt of the girl in the tape is trying to destroy him, “like she’s possessed or something.” Lela, shocked at what she was hearing, said “Imagine if someone sexed your niece or daughter. I mean, I understand her.” Ben replied “Then struck the nail to seal the coffin. I need her done. You know what I mean? I can’t say it, in case it ever gets to trial, I can say I didn’t say it, you know?” But Kelly wouldn’t admit if that was a real conversation she had with Robert about Sparkle.
She said “I wrote the book in fiction form so that I wouldn’t have to tell specific things that Rob said to me in confidence, and yet I would like to get the message across that we should be thinking critically about these issues.” She also said that she was saddened by those in the black community who defended Robert, adding that “to blindly support Rob does a disservice to Rob.” She did, however, clarify that some of his supporters were remaining silent out of fear and not loyalty.
Kelly says that her and Robert are still friends and he didn’t object to her book. He knows that the core of the book is true and that if she released the book, it’s just to help him.
Abdon finally came out and asked her “Should Robert go to jail?”
Her response was “I think he needs to go away, to be by himself away from the glare of stardom. What I’m saying in the book is that this guy is caught up, and his morals are kind of twisted now. I think he can’t tell the boundaries of acceptable behavior.
The book also mentions that Ben had videotaped Lela, shown the tape to friends, and humiliated her. But she didn’t say if that happened to her.
One thing that really gets me about the victims is that all of them seemed to have good grades, a lot of them had never drank or done drugs or even had sex until they met Robert. And some of them even dropped out of school. It’s just crazy, these were clearly good girls who seemed to stay out of trouble and he really ruined them. He took advantage of them and convinced them they didn’t need school and that all they needed was him.
Best of Both Worlds tour
Ok so even though Jay-Z decided to drop the Best of Both Worlds tour, they decided to do another joint tour with Robert, called Unfinished Business. According to Robert, they both knew that real money could be made if they toured together.
They didn’t really perform together at all though, they pretty much switched off doing solo numbers.
The show was, well, a show. Robert’s first showcase started with a giant personal ad on the big video screens, that said “Looking for a girl. MUST be down for anything. She’s got to be at least”-- the scroll paused for a beat-- “nineteen years old.”
The audience laughed.
Then there was a part when Robert selected two random women in the audience (they were actually dancers who were planted in the audience) and he seduced them into his prop tourbus. They all reemerged wearing orange prison jumpsuits and acting out a wild threesome in a prison cell that appeared on center stage.
So throughout all of these allegations, and in the years in between his indictment and his trial, dude is just getting freakier and freakier, right in front of our fucking faces. And he did quite a few concerts where he and a dancer would emulate sex acts on stage
(2012 Kitty Jones cage skit- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nZGkf8Oneo8 )
Disturbingly, Robert’s team started coming after Jim and Abdon. They reported that not only was Jim’s reporting inaccurate, but also took shots at Jim’s punk band, referencing lyrics and photos on their website. Robert’s manager called him at home and told him “I know you have a six year old daughter.” And even talked to Abdon and told him that he’d seen Jim and his daughter at a shopping mall, and he wanted to beat Jim up.
Of course, Jim and Abdon documented these comments in memos to their editors.
It was apparent throughout the tour that Jay-Z also didn’t feel great about Robert. During one of his sets, he paid tribute to fallen stars and flashed their photos on the big screens. These stars included Tupac Shakur, Biggie Smalls, and spookily, Aaliyah.
Jay-Z was friends with Aaliyah. Or more accurately, he was friends and business partners with Aaliyah’s boyfriend at the time of her death, Damon Dash, who co-founded Roc-A-Fella Records with Jay-Z.
Jay-Z had a big crush on Aaliyah too and Damon was appalled that he would work with R. Kelly. But I’ll get more into detail about that later.
For night 2 of the show, Robert arrived two and a half hours late, and then he left early before the closing bow with Jay-Z. Robert complained about Jay’s technical crews “sabotaging” Robert’s parts of the show.
The producers canceled the next date in Cincinnati.
A week later, Kelly stopped a show in St Louis and got into a screaming match with the tech crew. Jay-Z finished the show with his tribute to dead stars, and Robert and his crew went to a McDonalds that had been closed for the night.
Robert persuaded the manager to reopen the McDonalds, and also to allow him to hand out orders to customers at the drive-thru. It was all over the radio, people started rushing to McDonalds to have R. Kelly serve them burgers.
Robert’s behavior was getting increasingly bizarre. A couple of shows on the tour were cancelled and when they had another show, Robert fled the stage during his second solo set. He said that two people in the crowd were waving guns at him. When he came back, Jay-Z’s friend pepper sprayed him. (I’m not sure why? Maybe just because he was acting a fool.)
Robert went to the hospital while Jay-Z ended the show with other superstars that had been in the audience that night.
The next day, Robert and Jay-Z each gave their own interviews. Jay-Z said that Robert was jealous because the audience liked him better. Robert complained about production issues Jay-Z kicked him off the tour and tapped in Pharell Williams, Snoop Dogg, and Kanye West to finish the tour. Robert sued Jay-Z, Jay sued him back. A judge dismissed the lawsuit and Jay-Z settled Robert’s claim out of court. Lawyers have not disclosed the terms and Jay-Z has not spoken publicly about R Kelly ever since.
‘That dude was a bad man.’ Dash added that Aaliyah continued to struggle opening up about her relationship with R. Kelly. “I didn’t really want to know what he did, to the extent that I would, you know, deal with it because that’s what a man does,” Dame said. “But it was so much hurt for her to revisit it. I wouldn’t want to revisit it without a professional. Whatever got done was terrible.”
Dash was a friend of Jay-Z’s, but they had a falling out when Jay-Z decided to collab with R. Kelly, despite knowing what he had done to Aaliyah. Dash said he knew then that Jay-Z wasn’t his type of people.
“I remember having the conversation with Aaliyah. And I was like ‘Yo, tell me what happened.’ And she was like ‘uh.’ She just couldn’t,” Dame said. “What you think I felt? I’m human, bro. I had to look the other way. All these years. Publicly, that man did a record with that n*gga that raped my girl, that he liked as well. But no one said nothing.”
Demetrius has openly stated that the studio could be filled with 20 women aged 21 or so, but Robert consistently focused on the self-conscious teenager standing in the corner, staring at her feet, too shy to talk.
“He likes the babies, and that’s the sickness. He can control her, and she don’t know no better.”
Mary Mitchell of Sun Times:
“Kelly may be the mama’s boy who can do no wrong in the black community, but he is also the poster child for the dysfunctional relationship that has developed between adult men and girls in our society.”
There was a little bit of a divide in the black community. A lot of people were struggling to accept the truth. Mary Mitchell, a black woman who also worked at Sun Times with Jim and Abdon, provided a lot of insight. She grew up in public housing on the South Side of Chicago, and she was adamant about hearing the voices of people who couldn’t use their own voices to speak up for themselves.
She says that she got a lot of hate mail. “There’s this desperate need for the black community to have a hero. That’s why Bill Cosby was out there for so long. Same thing with Kelly. The black community didn’t want to deal with this being a form of sex-trafficking girls. I was trying to get them to understand the seriousness of it, that it wasn’t just two white guys (Jim and Abdon) trying to take down a black guy. I always saw that as a problem.”
In early 2019, the rapper Common also spoke out, admitting that he even didn’t understand the seriousness until it was too late.
“We failed as a community. We knew these things were happening. Instead of trying to free these young ladies and stop this thing going on, we were just like, man, rocking to the music. I’m guilty of that, too, myself. I didn’t want to speak out against it.”
So, it’s hard to comment on this when you aren’t black. But one thing I think is important to remember is that the victims are also black. If they were white, justice might be served more quickly. Unfortunately, there is a history in the USA of black victims going without justice.
In April 2003, Mary interviewed Drea, Robert’s wife. By all accounts, including Drea’s, she had to knock before entering or exiting any room in the house and ask for permission to eat. She was rarely seen in public with Robert. A lot of people believe that he wanted to make sure she couldn’t move around the house or around town even. Robert’s crew called her “puppy dog” and that just breaks my heart.
In Drea’s interviews, she seems so collected and in control, up until she’s asked specifically about how he controlled her, and her eyes kind of glaze over and her posture kind of sulks. It’s like she’s this strong woman who knows to speak up for herself, and yet, something inside of her has been broken down.
Mary also talked to Dra’s mother, grandfather, and aunt, and they all said that they weren’t allowed to visit her and Drea wasn’t allowed to talk to anyone on the phone.
(this is something many of his girlfriends would say-- he would take their cell phones and give them new ones, and tell them that they’re not allowed to contact anyone except Robert, unless Robert directed them to do otherwise.)
Andrea hadn’t spoken to her family for over 2 years, and they hadn’t yet met Drea’s youngest son, Robert Jr.
Drea’s mom had requested for the police to perform a well-check on Drea, but they reported that she was fine.
In September 2005, (3 years after the indictment) Drea petitioned for an order of protection from Robert. She charged that he hit her and slapped her when she asked him for a divorce, and said that she was afraid of him and wanted to get away safely. A few weeks later, they reconciled and she rescinded the request for a protective order.
In 2007, Drea did an interview where she said she didn’t believe the allegations against Robert. The prosecution team tried really hard to get her to testify, but she absolutely refused. But then the couple divorced about a year after the trial ended, and in 2018, she finally started talking.
Drea started describing to the media how she suffered physical and mental abuse from Robert throughout their marriage. At one point, she contemplated suicide. She’s opened up about a lot, but she says there’s still a lot she’s not willing to talk about. She says she never saw any underaged girls, he kept them away from her for a reason.
By 2006, this was 3 years after the indictment but the trial still hadn’t started, Robert’s brother Carey released in interview with Drahma magazine, claiming that Robert emotionally and physically abused Andrea, had “a problem” with underage girls, and that he often showed the sex tape to his friends throughout the indictment.
According to Carey, Robert called him up a year prior and asked him to take the fall and falsely admit to being the man in the sex tape, In return, he offered Carey $50,000, a record deal, and his own house.
Carey turned him down. He didn’t think it was worth it to perjure himself and get blamed for all of it.
Just so you know, Robert’s other siblings, Bruce and Theresa, both worked for R. Kelly on and off. Bruce as a bodyguard and Theresa as his housekeeper.
Like I said before, Theresa has never spoken about Robert publicly. Bruce has though. He’s seen on Surviving R Kelly, he’s in like in prison as he’s being interviewed. And Bruce gives me creepy vibes too. He said things on the show like “It’s just a preference. I like older women, that’s just my preference. Rob likes younger women. What’s the big deal about my brother?”
Uhhhhh, Nah bro. Nope nope nope nope nope.
And again, we know that Robert and Carey were sexually abused by Theresa (allegedly) and other family members, I would not be surprised if Bruce was also a victim as a child and idk, maybe his brain is wired a little like Robert’s.
Uncle Henry Love
In the fall of 2006, Jim got a call from a guy named Henry Vaughn. Henry worked as a security guard for Robert and claimed to also have been a mentor, and “uncle” to him since his teen years. They weren’t actually related, but Robert and his crew called him “Uncle Henry Love”.
Henry went out and met with Jim, Abdon, and Mary, and told them that he had filed a lawsuit against Robert. He claimed that he had gone to a party at Robert’s mansion earlier that year and Robert and his bodyguards beat the shit out of him. The suit also demanded compensation for “permanent injuries from the beating, as well as money that Kelly promised to pay him for sharing his stepping moves and inspiring the song Step In The Name of Love.
They asked him why Robert would beat up someone that was supposedly his friend and mentor, he said that he wasn’t sure, but he described the argument that started the fight.
Allegedly, Robert’s young daughter, Jaya, at 7 years old, was dressed up with tight jeans and makeup on at this party, and she was dancing on top of a pool table and Robert was encouraging it.
So that’s how the argument started.
By the way, just for accuracy, Jaya came out as transgender in 2014 and now prefers’s to be called Robert’s son, Jay.
Is Uncle Henry the same person as “Mr. Henry” from childhood? Or possibly the “uncle” that abused him as a child?
There's an “uncle” who may or may not be related, there’s a “Mr. Henry,” and then there’s an “Uncle Henry.” This has to be the same guy, right?
Abdon reached out to the Olympia Fields police and they told him that they responded to a call from the mansion that night but when they got there, Robert and everyone at the party told them that Uncle Henry had gotten drunk and needed to be subdued. They said that they found the kids all upstairs, sleeping.
Not long after the indictment in 2002, Robert got a new spokesperson. His old one, Regina Daniels, separated from him and made a cryptic statement that only said “a line has been crossed”
In 2008 her husband George spoke to a radio station and elaborated, “He crossed the line with my daughter. It didn’t get to the extreme of that video or else I wouldn’t be here, if you know what I’m talking about.”
Their daughter, Maxine, opened up about it a few weeks later. She said that she had a relationship with Robert when she was 20 years old and that her parents didn’t know about it because she and Robert both knew they wouldn’t approve. Regina found out about the affair and lost her shit because he had known Maxine since she was 7 years old, and they considered him family.
Robert continued to make music throughout the trial. He released the album TP.3 Reloaded and then Trapped in the Closet. These albums were also all about sex, no surprise there.
And big stars were still working with him. He was writing and producing for Ludacris, LL Cool Jay, Lil Wayne, Ciara, Missy Elliot. He worked with Whitney Houston at one point. He released the album Double Up which included guest appearances by Snoop Dogg, Nelly,Usher, T-Pain, Kid Rock, Keyshia Cole, that’s not even all of them man.
Not a lot of his peers seemed to have a problem with the allegations, and it was pretty much just the subject of jokes for a while.
The trial finally started in the spring of 2008. About a hundred fans came to the opening and closing days of the trial, but most days, only about a dozen people were there. Among the crowds were two young females who called themselve’s “R Kelly’s biggest fans”. One of these girls was Jerhonda Johnson, who claimed to be 18 and told anybody who’d listen that prosecutors “don’t have a case, it ain’t him on the tape”;
One day a reporter asked Jerhonda if she would date Robert if he asked her out.. She responded “Yes! He ain’t even gotta finish the sentence.”
And then she was asked, what if he wanted to tape her?
And she paused, and then smiled and said “Just don’t let it go public.”
One of the biggest problems with this case is that Reshonda and her parents refused to testify, and Robert’s lawyers would not let that go. The problem was that Reshonda testified in front of the grand jury in 2002 and said that she was not the girl in the tape. So if the prosecution were to win, she could be charged with perjury and go to prison herself.
They were actually going to bring in a psychologist who aws going to explain while a child victim would lie about being a victim like that, but Judge Vaughan wouldn’t allow it.
This was Dr. Cooper, the CEO of Developmental and Forensic Pediatrics, and she said that many times, children will deny it because the presence of the images is so shaming. The reason victims don’t acknowledge those images are them is because of the guilt, self-blame and shame. Often children, just like sex-trafficking victims, are sworn to secrecy. Many times, the offender uses love and affection to make a young person become devoted to them.
According to Jim, Gaughan also ruled as inadmissible any evidence or testimony that Reshona or the Landfairs ever worked for Robert or were on his payroll. We already know that Greg played in multiple albums for Robert. But Valerie also worked as his office assistant.
It’s unclear why the prosecution wouldn’t be able to follow the money from Robert to the Landfairs or why Gaughan wouldn’t allow the jury to hear about Robert’s history of silencing his victims.
The state called fourteen people as witnesses.
The most convincing testimony came from one of Reshona’s friends, Simha Jamison. Simha testified that Reshona introduced her to Robert when she was 12 and they would hang out with him at the studio, at the gym where he played basketball, and also visited his house. Sometimes she would go home and Reshona would stay the night with Robert. She said that she never saw Robert touch Reshona inappropriately, but she did see him give her cash, anywhere between $100-500. It was also implied that he bought her a PT cruiser years before she could get her drivers license.
Simha said that Reshona never mentioned having a sexual relationship with Robert, however, she said she saw the tape for the first time back in high school, and she knew for a fact it was Reshona. Apparently, Reshona and Simha had gone to get mullet haircuts together when they were 14, and that was the haircut that Reshona had in the tape.
Simha also revealed that she also received gifts from Robert, including $100 on her 13th birthday.
There were a lot of people who testified that they were absolutely positive that Reshona was the girl in the tape, including Reshona’s relatives, her basketball coach, her classmates, and her classmate’s parents.
One thing that was weird was the “man in the tape” clearly called the girl “Shona” and yet the prosecution never brought that up with any of their witnesses.
The defense made a lot of really dumb points. One was that the man in the video could not be Robert because he had a mole and Robert did not. But then they examined other videos of Robert where he clearly had a mole.
They also tried to say that the video was fabricated. They actually asked Simha “you remember the movie with the Wayans Brothers called Little Man? And they put that guy’s head on a baby’s body. That was pretty convincing, wasn’t it?” and Simha was like “not reeeaaaally.” and everybody laughed.
Lisa Van Allen
In a shocking win for the prosecution, Judge Gaughan allowed the court to hear from a bombshell witness, Lisa Van Allen.
Lisa met Robert when she was 17. She quit her job and started staying with him in Chicago, and she just never left. She went on tour with him and she thought she was his girlfriend.
Lisa was actually the woman who Robert would pick out of the audience at his concerts and bring her up on stage to climb into a big bed and depict intercourse.
She was also in his music video for “I Wish”, you can see her braiding his hair while they’re sitting on a stoop.
According to Lisa, Robert introduced her to Reshonda in 1998. He basically told her that he wanted to try a threesome with this girl, and he told her that she was 16. She had no idea that Reshonda was actually only 14, and when she found out, it destroyed her.
She says that they had sex in the Colorado room and robert had recorded it. She noted that Reshonda seemed to know exactly what to do, exactly what he wanted, like she had been doing this for a while.
A year later they had another threesome on a futon in his basketball gym, the one with the Looney Tunes murals. Lisa cried, she was really uncomfortable with it. Robert scolded her for ruining his video, saying “I can't watch this now.”
They had a third threesome in Robert’s trailer on the set of “I Wish” and that someone knocked on the door, and he made Reshona run into the bathroom naked.
The defense grilled Lisa about why it took her so long to come forward, and she said that she had just had an infant daughter in 2002 when this whole thing started, and she was really young and wasn’t ready to be involved.
However, she explains how on one occasion, Robert left his dufflebag of tapes on the sidelines of the basketball court, and she stole the video of the first threesome.
It was discovered after the trial that at one point in a closed trial, Lisa gave sworn testimony that Robert’s manager, Derrel McDavid, told her he should have killed her. But instead, he paid her $100,000 in return for her telling Robert’s attorneys that she never had sex wit him.
Episode 11: R. Kelly Part 3
Hi everybody! I’m Didi West, and this is Broken Limelight!
Welp, we finally made it to the third and final part of the R. Kelly story. As we know, the allegations date back to the year 1991, and here we are 30 years later, still talking about it.
In June, Jim DeRogatis was called to testify.
They tried everything to get him out of it, because he was adamant that he didn’t want to reveal the sources that spoke to him off the record. But Gaughan wanted him to testify and threatened to lock him up if he didn’t.
Gaughan also made an odd decision about his testimony. Jim would take the stand and become part of the record, but not in front of the jury.
For every question (except one, about his profession, that Gaughan made him answer) Jim repeated that he was exercising his First and Fifth amendments.
Robert’s defense team started it’s case on June 5th.
The defense called 3 of Reshona’s relatives to the stand, and they all said that they did not recognize the girl on the tape to be Reshonda.
The defense also called a video expert, Charles Palm, who said that he could not detect any signs that the tapes were faked, although, he also couldn’t rule out that possibility.
Robert declared that he would not testify, at the advice of his lawyers.
On Friday, June 13th, the jury came to a verdict after 7 and a half hours of deliberation.
The courtroom was full of people. Everyone was whispering about how R. Kelly was gonna spend the next 15 years in prison.
One of his attorney’s shook his hand and said “we didn everything we could.”
Judge Gaughan was immediately like “I don’t want any outbursts!”
And he threatened to hold anyone in contempt if they disrupted the reading of the verdict.
The verdict for the first of 14 counts against R Kelly for making child pornography was announced: “Not guilty.”
Robert broke down in tears.
They repeated “Not guilty” 13 more times. He was found Not Guilty on every single count.
The prosecution looked stunned. They were stunned.
Some of the jurors held a press conference and explained how they were all eager to go home. At the end of the day, neither side proved their case beyond a reasonable doubt, and that’s why they had to go for not guilty. But some jurors did say that they believed it was Robert and Reshonda in the tapes, they just couldn’t be 100% sure without Reshonda testifying.
Another juror, No. 61, spoke about it on Surviving R. Kelly, saying “I just didn’t believe them, the women. I know it sounds ridiculous. The way they dress, the way they act-- I didn’t like them.”
Sorry but juror no. 61 sounds like an incel. “I know it sounds ridiculous, the way they have breasts, and I know what that means, big breasts are full of LIES”
I don’t know how they let that man on this jury. I bet he’s an R. Kelly fan, too.
When the press presented the jurors with all the evidence they hadn’t heard-- the civil lawsuits, Aaliyah, the other tapes, the Florida photos, the patterns of behavior that had been previously reported-- they were shocked.
Judge Gaughan hosted a party after the trial was over, supposedly to celebrate the end of it and how hard everyone had worked.
In Robert’s biography, Soulacoaster, his defense wanted him to take a plea bargain for 8 months in prison because they were worried that Lisa Van Allen’s testimony would lead to his conviction. But he insisted that he wasn’t going to admit to anything.
6 months after the trial ended, Robert and Drea were finally divorced.
“Do you like teenage girls?”
In September 2002, Robert did an interview for BET’s The Black Carpet. The interview started out ok, and then he was suddenly asked “do you like underage girls?” And Rob’s manager jumped in and was like “No! No no no no no! You can’t ask him that!” and Rob just brushed him aside and went “it’s cool, I got this.” So then the interviewer reworded the question and said “do you like teenage girls?” and then he said “Wel how old are we talking?”
And the interviewer’s like, stunned, he goes “girls who are teenagers”
So, ultimately Robert says he has friends who are 19 but he doesn’t like anyone illegal, if that’s what he means by underage.
Robert’s crisis manager, Allan Mayer, quit the next day. But he continued to release some statements at Robert’s request for about a year or so.
Jerhonda Johnson Pace
In 2012, Jim found out about another victim: Jerhonda Pace.
Jerhonda Pace had been following the R. Kelly trial and even used a fake ID to get in, because minors weren’t allowed. She was only 15, but she told investigators that she was 18. When they announced the Not Guilty verdict, she jumped up and down and said to reporters “He’s free! He’s innocent! They can stop calling him a pedophile now!”
Jerhonda said that she was pretty star struck and kind of that “maybe that’s not the girl in the tape.” She was a big R. Kelly fan and like I said before, I’m just slightly older than Jerhonda and I remember when all that happened, and I think all the kids were star struck and didn’t want to believe it was him. He was literally making all the best music that was played like at the school dances and on the radio and a lot of people were making jokes about him peeing on people, which made things kind of confusing.
So Jerhonda called herself R. Kelly’s “biggest fan” and he would smile at her and speak to her and one time gave her his autograph.
When Jerhonda was 16, someone from Rob’s crew friended her on Myspace. He invited her to a party at Robert’s mansion in Olympia Fields.
Robert spotted her and told her he remembered her from the trial, and he asked for her phone number. He didn’t ask her age and she didn’t tell him.
He later invited her to come back and told her to bring a bathing suit. She of course thought they were just going swimming. But instead, he told her to change into it, and then he had her walk back and forth like she was modeling it for him. Then he tells her to start taking pieces of her bikini off. On that first encounter, they both exchanged oral sex.
According to Jerhonda, Robert made her write and sign letters saying that she’d stolen jewelry and cash from him, and that her parents had set her up to blackmail him. He told her it was “insurance” so she wouldn’t talk about their relationship.
She says that none of the charges were true but she did what she was told.
A few days later, she went back over and he took her virginity. They continued having sex for 7 months.
“I had to call him ‘Daddy’ and he would call me ‘baby’. He wanted me to have two pigtails, and I had to go out and find little schoolgirl outfits. I noticed everytime I brought up me going home, he would ask me, ‘well, what do you have to do’ and i was just like ‘I just want to go home and get a change of clothes’ and he’d go ‘I could buy you some of those.’ He never wanted me to leave.’
Jerhonda finally showed him her legal ID showing that she was 16, and he said that it was fine, but she should tell anyone who asked that she was 19, and she should act 21.
She allegedly asked him if he liked young girls, to which he responded “Of course I do, I can train them. Older women have too much knowledge. When they’re young, I can train them and I can mold them to be who I want them to be”
While Jerhonda was staying at Robert’s house, she told her parents that she was actually staying with her friend, Dominique Gardner. Dominique was also a huge R. Kelly fan and just a year older than Jerhonda.
Dominique eventually also started hanging out at Robert’s mansion.
Jerhonda says that they had to follow rules whenever they went over there, like wearing baggy clothing, turning their phones over to him, asking permission to shower, eat, or go to the bathroom, or even leave his house. When they disobeyed his rules or hesitated when he asked them to perform certain sex acts, he would slap them. He had Jerhonda perform sexual acts that she wasn’t comfortable with. Like using a strap-on for example. He made her have sex with other people while he’d watch.
Jerhonda said that she recognized Reshonda from the sex tape and that she had seen her at parties at the mansion.
She also said that she once had sex with a woman Robert called his “trainer,” because she taught the new girls the “rules”. The trainer was allegedly best friends with Reshonda in high school.
In 2010, Jerhonda broke off contact with Robert after an incident where he caught her texting a friend, and he demanded that she prove her loyalty by having a threesome with him and another man. She refused and he slapped her, and held her against a wall, choking her, and he forced her to give him head, and then he spit in her face, and then.. finished all over it.
Jerhonda wiped it off with a blue tee-shirt and saved it, and she got the fuck out of there. In 2018 she turned it in to police and it would be cited as evidence in a new round of charges against R. Kelly in 2019.
She also had signed an NDA at some point, but would break it in 2017.
She actually showed the documents of the NDA to Jim.
I’ll read a little bit of it:
“In the event that Jerhonda Johnson, her agents, attorneys, or any person or entity acting on their behalf, breaches the confidentiality or non-disparagement provisions of this Agreement, Kelly’s obligations hereunder to make any further payments from and after the breach shall cease… Any breach of this confidentiality provision would cause Kelly irreparable injury. . Kelly would be entitled to an injunction, in addition to any other legal remedies he may have.”
According to Jerhonda, she actually called Susan Loggans office, because she saw on her website that she had represented a lot of women who had accused R. Kelly. She was allegedly told that the settlement would make her a millionaire, and was dissuaded from going to the police.
They also told her that if she was to file criminal charges, it would likely be like the last time and he wouldn’t get convicted, and she would just be another girl he did it to. If she wanted real justice she should just go ahead and get money from him instead.
In 2012, Jerhonda complained to Loggans’s office that payments from Robert were late or missing. By then, Robert had substantial financial problems since he had to pay child support and alimony to Drea, and he owed the IRS nearly $5 million in unpaid taxes. And also, the mansion he bought in 2002 was in foreclosure.
So since Susan Loggans wasn’t helping, Jerhonda got a new lawyer-- David Fish. He filed a lawsuit for Jerhonda against not only Robert, but also against Susan.
The lawsuit claimed that the settlement had been orchestrated so that Susan would be paid her $500,000 immediately, but Jerhonda would only get $250,000 and the man who abused her was defaulting on those payments.
Jerhonda settled the claim against Susan for $27,000, and her second claim against Robert for $375,000 (which was less than she was initially supposed to get).
When Jerhonda was 19, she said she heard about how Robert’s mansion was in foreclosure and she started to feel sorry for him. She said “I was stupid, I was just a kid.” She sheepishly told Jim that she also kind of wanted to rekindle her relationship with Robert.
Jerhonda had been talking to friends about it one day, going against the NDA, and her friends had secretly recorded it on a cell phone and taken it to Robert’s crisis manager, looking for payment. Robert’s team threatened her for breaking the NDA and eventually got her to sign a second NDA.
Ok so I know that this story gets confusing because there’s literally so many people involved. So around 2015, there was talk of R. Kelly housing 6 women who were all his “girlfriends”, some of whom had been with him for years. The rumor was that he had been brainwashing these women and that this was like a big sex cult. These girls overlap in the timeline so please bear with me and I’ll try to be as clear as I can.
First we’re going to talk about Cheryl Mack. I mentioned Cheryl in the past episodes, she was one of the people who worked as Robert’s personal assistant. She eventually quit working for him and opened up to Jim about what she knows.
She admitted that she saw him mistreat the women he housed. She said “Girls initially think, “this is R. Kelly, I’m going to live a lavish lifestyle. No. You have to ask for food, you have to ask to go to the bathroom.. He is a master at mind control.. He is a puppet master.. He doesn’t want their figures to be exposed, he doesn’t want them to look appealing to anyone else. When other men entered the room, he made the girls turn around and face the wall in their jogging suits because he doesn’t want them to be looked at by anyone else.”
Cheryl Mack met R. Kelly in 2004 and she represented 3 artists who wound up having sexual relationships with Robert.
The first was a woman in her 30s.
The second was a 17 year old singer from Chicago’s west side who was then living in Atlanta-- Cheryl said that Robert took this young woman’s virginity, and when their relationship ended a year later, she tried to slit her wrists on multiple occasions and even tried driving her car into the middle of traffic in Chicago.
This young singer and her mother approaches Susan Loggans (if you remember from part 1, Susan was a lawyer who defended a few victims in civil suits but discouraged them from filing criminal charges)
Robert’s attorney and manager at the time worked their magic, and paid the girl and her mother off. They settled for $750,000.
Apparently Robert had suggested that Cheryl pair this singer with a 19-year-old songwriter, and this woman also began a sexual relationship with Robert, and eventually joined the cult.
Cheryl said “she looks awful. He dresses her up in sweats, threw her in a room and threw away the key. She doesn’t write anymore, she doesn’t record any music. She does absolutely nothing. She’s a servant to Robert. It’s so sad.”
Cheryl started working with R. Kelly in 2013, despite knowing about his past. She said that she really, honestly thought that she could be the one who could help him.
Cheryl also shared that she uses the word “girls” even though some of them are grown women, because Robert actually likes to dress them up like little girls. He allegedly orchestrated threesomes and sometimes demanded that the girls have sex with him in front of other people. And according to Cheryl, she once heard Robert tell the 19-year old singer “If you want to learn and engage an audience, you have to learn it right here.”
Cheryl had had enough and quit working for him in 2015.
Another member of the cult was Joycelyn Savage, and her story began in 2015, with a fax from her mother, Jonjelyn. She sent Jim a fax that read:
“Hi, I am a mom of a young adult daughter who is caught up as a victim by Mr. Kelly. I spoke with another parent recently, who I believe has or will be contacting you soon from Florida. I reside in Atlanta. If you can give me a contact # and a time to reach you later this evening, my husband and I will call you together with more information. This is not easy for us and we are not looking for any exposure or seeking money. I never thought my daughter would end up dealing with someone like this. He is still up to his same tactics, he just makes sure they are over 17 or 18. Kind Regards, J.”
So let me tell you about Joycelyn’s relationship with Robert. So Joycelyn and her sister Jai were aspiring singers *shocker* and their mom, J, ran a little boutique and she would play Joy’s demos there. In April 2015, a woman who was shopping told J that she liked what she heard and told her that she knew someone in R. Kelly’s inner circle. So J gave her a demo and her contact info. So Robert’s road manager called them and talked to Joy’s dad, Tim, and told him “send me some pictures. Send me the songs.” Tim was super pumped and proud of his daughter, so he excitedly sent them over. Then they sent them back some VIP tickets to the Atlanta Funk Fest to see Robert perform.
Jonjelyn was keeping a close eye on her two daughters, Joy and Jai.. Or so she thought. At one point when she wasn’t looking, somebody from Robert’s crew pressed a note with Rob’s phone number, into both Joy’s and Jai’s hands. Jai was just halfway through highschool, and she took the number and threw it away. But Joy, who was about to start her first year of college, kept the number.
A couple days later, they got an invite to another concert, but this time, Robert personally sat with Jonjelyn and Joycelyn for 2 hours, and actually listened to her CD and told them he was going to help her with it.
Jonjelyn had of course heard about the accusations, but she thought that he was genuinely interested in helping Joy with her music this time, and they also thought they could keep her safe if they ALWAYS went with her.
But after that visit with him, Joy started texting him secretly. So as far as Jonjelyn knew, that was the end of it and the contact with Robert had ceased. She had no idea that there was any communication going on between him and Joy.
One weekend in June 2015, Joy told her parents that she was making a visit to a nearby college that she was considering, but instead, she flew to Oklahoma City to see Robert.
According to Joy, she and Robert had sex for the first time on this trip.
But I guess Joy was skeptical about whether Robert really wanted to help with her career, or if he was just using her for sex. So she had her friend record a phone conversation. They did a 3-way call and he recorded it, and apparently that’s legal in Georgia, to record a third-party conversation without consent.
Anyway, the call is troubling. I think it’s no shocker to anyone that the conversation quickly turned sexual. But you like.. You really see the man at work.
Like he’s instantly trying to ask her what she’s wearing and shit like that, and he says to her “I want you to get in the habit of telling me what color panties you got on every day.” He also told her “I’m going to teach you how to flex them little titties. It’s going to be on.”
So she tried bringing up her music a few times, saying things like “I want to work with you on that song.” and he’d be like “yeah, uh-huh. I will listen to that song and I will let you know. I’m more interested in developing you. New songs are not an issue. I always do hit songs. I always do great songs. First things first. Gotta keep that character up if you’re turned out.”
Joy just said “You know I’m on it.”
Several of Kelly’s girlfriends over the years said that Robert often talked about “turning them out”. If you haven’t heard that phrase, “turned out,” it’s basically like street slang for transforming a girl or woman with minimal sexual experience, into one who’s much more experienced. Typically it refers to a pimp turning a woman into a sex worker.
In 2016, Joy enrolled in college, and she often went to visit Robert on her nights off. But by the end of the fall semester, she stopped going to classes and eventually dropped out. By the way, she's 21 at this point. I don’t know if I said that.
While in college, she got really close with her roommate, Torie. Allegedly, Joy told Torie that she was one of 6 women who lived with and slept with R. Kelly. Apparently, the other women called her a prude and picked on her.
She also told Torie about an occasion where Robert sent a cab to pick the girls up from the house and take the to a nightclub. The driver made a joke and Joy laughed, and one of the other women texted Robert to tell him, because it was against the rules to even slightly acknowledge another man. So when they got to the club, Robert literally took Joy and bent her over and gave her an ass whooping.
Joy also opened up to Torie about the rules. Like others have said, Joy said that Robert took her cell phone and threw it into the lake, and then gave her a new one that was only to be used to talk to him.
She told her about how she had to ask for permission for absolutely anything. Like to go to the bathroom, to eat something, they even had to ask for permission to go to bed at night.
Joy’s appearance changed drastically. She lost a lot of weight and she also chopped off her hair. It was originally long and flowy, and she cut it really short and permed it, and then dyed it blonde. She allegedly looked like a male prison inmate. According to Joy, Robert likes her hair that way.
Torie recalls that Joy told her about the sex acts he makes them perform, and apparently she was telling her this through tears. She told her that he makes them have threesomes all the time, even when he’s not involved, and he would make them use buttplugs and stuff and it clearly was something that Joy didn’t like, but she did it anyway, and she just wouldn’t listen to anyone about leaving him. Torie said it was like talking to a robot, she was just so brainwashed.
Joy’s parents were in contact with her sporadically when the school year started, but she suddenly stopped calling, stopped taking their calls, and stopped coming home to visit and do her laundry. She ended up missing holidays, her sister’s graduation, and even family funerals.
In the winter of 2016, she came home to pick up a few things, and the whole family as well as Torie, got together and planned an intervention.
Again, Joy was wearing grey sweats and had her short blonde hair that everyone said made her look like a little prison boy.
But she just kept smiling and saying that she loves him, and he’s the one who cares about her.
Jonjelyn said that she just wished she could get her back and get her some kind of treatment for victims of cults.
In December 2016, Joy sent her parents a short text that just said “I hate that Christmas has to be this way this year.” And that’s one of the last times they heard from her directly for a while.
Joy’s parents tried SO HARD to reach her. Jonjelyn actually closed down her store to investigate on her own, since the police weren’t helping because Joy was above legal age. They tried to send the police to do well checks but had no luck.
In January 2017, 3 officers looked around the perimeter of Robert’s building and noted that there were iron bars on the windows and cameras lining the exterior. They spoke to Joy, and in their notes they wrote “JOYCELYN SAVAGE RELATED THAT SHE WAS FINE AND DID NOT WANT TO BE BOTHERED WITH HER PARENTS. JOYCELYN SAVAGE FURTHER RELATED THAT SHE KEEPS IN CONTACT WITH HER MATERNAL GRANDMOTHER.”
When reached by BuzzFeed News, Nana said that she had spoken to her granddaughter by phone only two or three times since December, most recently on July 11. She said her granddaughter emphasized that she’s an adult in a consensual relationship with Kelly, and was mad at her parents for intervening. In text messages reviewed by BuzzFeed News, the granddaughter said she thought her parents were trying to ruin Kelly’s career.
Despite her granddaughter’s insistence, “I’m gravely concerned about her,” Nana said, echoing J.’s belief that she is being held against her will. If she could talk to Kelly today, Nana said, “I would tell R. Kelly to send my granddaughter home. He knows it’s not right and he would not want anybody doing this to his daughter.”
Now we’re going to talk about the other girl who Jonjelyn mentioned in her fax, the girl from Florida.
This was Azriel Clary.
Azriel’s story is eerily familiar. She was an aspiring singer with an amazing voice, but she suffered from depression and in 2015, she tried to hurt herself.
Her parents are named Angelo and Alice Clary, and one thing they made very clear was that they felt so stupid for falling for Robert’s old tricks.
In Alice’s own words, she says:
“My thing was, I trusted. I have never been in the music industry before, ever, and he is a lyrical genius. He is R. Kelly! And the fact is, he went to court, he was never found guilty, he was acquitted, and we were led to believe there was no truth in it.”
That just like, breaks me. I mean the court had determined he was innocent! Ugh.
So the Clary’s took both of their daughters to see Robert perform at the Funk Fest in Orlando, and there was a part in the show where they were pulling people up on stage. Azriel was pulled on stage and, you guessed it, a crew member slipped her Robert’s phone number.
Her parents didn’t believe it was his number, so they called it but there was no answer.
He must’ve texted or called Azriel back later, because a relationship developed over phone calls and text messages behind her parent’s backs.
All of a sudden, Azriel didn’t come home from school one day. So they started looking for her and they finally got a text from her saying that she’s ok, she just met up with R. Kelly at his hotel. They were like “YOU MET UP WITH R KELLY AT HIS HOTEL?!!!”
They rushed to the hotel and called the police, who told them to deal with hotel security. They did, and Azriel came down, but Robert refused to talk to them. So they took her home and decided that she could only talk to him if one of them was also present. They really, really thought that Robert would help Azriel with her career, so they just vowed to be more careful and make sure that this was about the music. They wanted him to mentor her like he did with Aaliyah.
But then, Robert wanted her to tour with him, and they were convinced that this would be a good opportunity for her to learn. Robert also assured them that there would be a female guardian present who would keep an eye on her in their place. And they trusted him.
Again, they acknowledge that this was stupid.
Azriel admitted that she began having sex with Robert in 2015. So this relationship that was supposed to be about music had turned sexual. Azriel was 17 at this point. R. Kelly’s like, idk, 50? He was 48.
Azriel never came home from her touring with Robert, and sources said that she became his “favorite” of the 6 women he was housing. He called her “his number one girl”.
In August 2015 they tried sending their oldest daughter, A’lceis, to go get her. They just thought that Rob’s crew would trust her more than a pair of angry parents.
She showed up to his recording studio and got into a loud argument with Robert and his crew, just demanding to see her sister. A’lceis was holding a phone up and Alice was on the other line listening, and she heard Robert say “You need to shut the hell up with all this noise. I don’t do drama. You’re making a scene.” Then Alice called the police. But when they got there, Azriel was no longer there. So A’lceis came home.
They filed a police report in Chicago, and the PD took no action. They tried to get Florida police to investigate, but they investigated but also took no action.
In July 2017, Azriel reached out to her father and told him that Robert wanted to invite him to a concert to talk “man to man”. But Angelo did not trust this one bit and he declined the invitation. Then Azriel told him some news, Robert had recently paid for her to have breast enhancement surgery!
As it turns out, Joycelyn Savage also had the surgery.
Needless to say, the Clary’s were just baffled and, fucking raging. Angelo said “I do believe she has been brainwashed. She’s starstruck and believes he will help her do the things she’s dreamed about. But she’s not doing anything, not singing, nothing, and I just don’t know what we can do.”
Alice was actually really nervous about how to act because she had read that some of Robert’s victims tried to kill themselves when he didn’t want them anymore. And like I said, Azriel had a history of depression and self-harm.
Azriel also apparently stopped calling, stopped visiting, and missed big events like family funerals. She didn’t even contact Alice on Mother’s Day.
In May 2018, they tried again to bring Azriel home. They flew to Chicago and went to Robert’s new studio, and they argued with two of his guards who ended up calling the police. The cops actually threatened to arrest the Clarys for causing a disturbance, and they allegedly refused to take a police report or conduct a well-check on Azriel.
Angelo noted that the officers who responded seemed to be “friendly” with the guards.
So Jim actually found out that Chicago’s off-duty police officers are not required to report who they work for part time, and it was said that some officers in Chicago and Olympia Fields worked security for Kelly, and the department’s rules didn’t require them to tell anyone about it.
Azriel called them just a few hours later and told them that she was fine and just wanted to be left alone.
Interestingly, the language she used was almost identical to a YouTube video that Joy Savage made, where she told her parents to leave her and Robert alone.
Almost like they were following a script.
Now we’re going to move on to the next victim. This was actually Jerhonda’s friend, Dominique Gardner.
In 2016, Jerhonda got an instagram message from Dominique saying that she needed help. She said she was drinking a lot and just really stressed out, and that she was living in a high-rise downtown.
When Robert lost his mansion, he rented an apartment in Trump Tower Chicago. According to Jerhonda, Dominique didn’t specifically name Robert in the texts, but she said things like “You can’t tell anybody it’s him” and “you know the guy we had in common”. She said she wanted to get out.
People actually started comparing R. Kelly to Charles Manson at this point. To this day, people still blame Robert’s victims. But like Charles Manson, Robert would seek out girls of a certain type, girls who break down easier. People around Charles Manson said that he had once gone into the forest with a girl, and she was never the same when they came back. And still, she never left Charlie’s cult.
Charlie also used music to draw in young people.
Dominique Gardner doesn’t actually like to use the words “cult” or “brainwashed”. Even the rules that Robert had in place, she didn’t call them “rules”. But if you watch Surviving R. Kelly, you can kind of pick up on why her mom Michelle was so concerned.
So during the filming, Dominique was still in the cult, and Michelle just.. She like gets a tip that Dominique is at this one hotel, so she goes to try and see her, and it’s just fucking spooky. Dominique is like whispering and being sneaky, like she doesn’t want to get caught talking to her mother. And her mom is talking to her like a kidnapping victim, like walking on egg shells trying not to get Dominique caught, but she’s like desperate to get her the fuck out of there.
At the end, Dominique gets out and goes home with her mom, but it turns out that she went back to Robert only 3 days later.
But she only stayed for about 2 weeks before she left for good. She said that she couldn’t do it face to face because it would’ve been too hard. So she wrote him a note and left while he was sleeping. The note said “You are a great man. No hard feelings, I am just over it. I am growing. This is not working.” And she never looked back.
Even as she talks to Jim, you can tell she loves Robert. She calls him misunderstood and says that nobody understands what he’s been through. She’s clearly really conflicted. She also told Jim that she’s got two tattoos of Robert’s face-- one on her leg, and one on her ribs, which is particularly painful, and especially when you’re so thin, like she was.
And that’s not uncommon in victims of abuse. If you ask a police officer, they’ll tell you that they’ll often show up for a call for domestic abuse, and the victim will be all bruised and bloody, and they’ll tell the cops that everything’s fine, it’s all resolved.
Asante McGee was in her 30s while in the cult. She met Robert at a show and she was invited backstage, and they exchanged numbers and started texting and talking on the phone. He asked her early on if she was ready to be a part of his world, and she said yes. She believed that they were in love. He actually introduced her to the other girls in the cult, and she also met the “trainer” that Jerhonda talked about.
This girl who was the trainer was 30 at this time, and she had actually been with Robert since she was 15. She bragged about it too. She was apparently best friends with Reshonda Landfair.
Asante described a time where she watched Robert have sex with the trainer. She came in through a door and she was completely butt-naked (the trainer, not Asante), but first she knocked-- that’s a rule, they always have to knock before entering a room. So Rob told her to come in, and he told her “bitch, get down on your knees.” So she comes in completely naked and gets on her hands and knees, like a dog, and he just started asking her questions like “How long have you been with me? How many shows have you gone to?” And she would answer them. Then he said “ok bitch, get up” and then told her to suck his dick.
Asante says that she never saw Robert hit any of the girls, who he called his “babies” but she said that he abused them in other ways. Like once, he left Azriel on the bus for like 3 days and she was not allowed to come out.
She also says that as well as orchestrating threesomes, he demanded “acts of sexual humiliation” that she didn’t approve of. I mean she didn’t mind if he was into certain things, but she couldn’t get into it herself.
Asante started to notice how fucked up everything was when she realized that Azriel was only 17. At the time, Asante actually had a 17 year old daughter, so seeing Azriel doing sexual things with Robert was like a huge reality check for her. Again, Robert was nearly 50 years old and having sex with someone the same age as his own daughter.
According to Asante, he also made the girls talk like little girls, like actually speak higher pitched and shit. So like, her watching this man control this young girl like that, it really hit her hard.
It was all building up and then one day, Asante got in trouble for wearing shorts and a tank top instead of sweats, even though it was like 100 degrees out. Robert berated her, and she decided then that she had to get out.
Another victim had a very similar story, but she actually says that Robert did physically hit her.
This was Kitti Jones. She was with Robert from 2011 to 2013. Like everyone else, they met, started texting, and she quit her job to go on tour with him. He offered her a spot as a dancer in the prison-cell threesome act that he did in his concerts. Kitti Jones was 35 at the time.
Kitti was also introduced to the other women in the cult. The first woman she met was… Reshonda Landfair. Yup. I said that.
Reshonda was almost 30 at this time and still hadn’t spoken publicly since 2000.
Kitti actually asked Robert how long he had known Reshona. He allegedly replied “I don’t like people asking me my business, but I raised her.”
After that, she sought out the notorious pee tape and watched it.
And that was when she noticed that the girl in the tape was the same woman Robert just introduced her to.
According to Kitti, Reshonda never stopped coming around, so I guess that means Reshonda wasn’t actually living with Robert. Or at least, she wasn’t living with the rest of the cult. Because Robert did have multiple properties and truthfully, we don’t know where Reshona was.
Kitti also was made to perform sex acts that made her uncomfortable, forced to participate in threesomes, and of course there was always a camera on her during sexual acts. She says the final straw came in 2013 when Robert took the girls to a Subway restaurant and she got in trouble for chatting with a male cashier. Allegedly, Robert dragged her outside, threw her against a tree, kicked her, slapped her, choked her. All in broad daylight. Supposedly there were people around and nobody did anything.
Kelly finally responded to the multiple allegations of sexual misconduct by releasing a song, “I Admit” in July 2018. The 19-minute song shared on SoundCloud addressed the claims through his lyrics. “What’s the definition of a cult? / What’s the definition of a sex slave? / Go to the dictionary, look it up / Let me know I’ll be here waiting,” read the song. “Say I’m abusing these women, what the f–k that’s some absurd s–t (what?)/ They’re brainwashed, really? (Really)/ Kidnapped, really? (Really)/ Can’t eat, really? (Really)/ Real talk, that s–t sound silly (yeah).”
So now that Jim Derogatis has gathered all this information, he published a new story:
Parents Told Police Their Daughter Is Being Held Against Her Will In R. Kelly’s “Cult”
This time, people FINALLY started to listen. The #MuteRKelly movement was started. This was like a big protest. They were trying to get R. Kelly off the stage, out of the studio. They essentially wanted to stop him from hurting women by shutting down the income that was enabling him.
And they were pretty successful. They got 11 concerts cancelled within the first 15 months.
The movement also had a lot of support. This was like in the midst of Harvey Weinstein allegations and celebrities were now openly speaking out against it. The founders of #MuteRKelly released a strong statement that was supported by celebrities like John Legend and Shonda Rhimes, among others.
The statement demanded action by industry enablers, like RCA/Sony Music, TicketMaster, Spotify, Apple Music, etc.
They also demanded further investigations.
Tarana Burke, who was the founder of the #The MeToo movement also supported the statement. She also said:
“It’s going to take the black community to fully embrace the idea of R Kelly being a predator, and to understand that even if the girls are now 21 or 18, it’s still predatory behavior and that he shouldn’t be celebrated in our community.”
Another lawsuit came out in 2018. This suit was filed by Faith Rodgers.
She met him at a concert in San Antonio in 2017 when she was just 19 years old. She alleges that she was sexually assaulted, locked in rooms as punishment when she failed to please him, and that he infected her with herpes during the course of their relationship.
By the end of 2018, law enforcement still hadn’t done anything.
But in 2019, Lifetime released Surviving R. Kelly, which was HUGE. It literally broke viewership records for Lifetime.
For the first time, everyone could actually see the victims' faces and hear their own words.
If you haven’t seen it, it shows over 50 interviews from multiple victims like Lizzette Martinez, Jerhonda Pace, Asante McGee, Drea Kelly, there’s also interviews from people who worked with Robert like Demetrius Smith, Robert’s brothers, Aaliyah’s mom, Diane Haughton also spoke. 3 days after the show came out, there was a press conference where victims of R Kelly’s were asked to come forward. Robert was not too concerned. He threw a party for his 52nd birthday. He sang Bump N Grind, and women literally shouted “abduct me!”
One thing that’s pretty messed up is that a lot of people were making money off Robert, so it didn’t benefit any of them for him to stop making music. Jive Records made a shit ton of money from him.
Clive Calder, who was one of the label heads, said that he regrets not trying harder to get Robert help, but “I’m not a psychiatrist, and this guy is a troubled guy. Clearly we missed something.
Jive’s chief executer, Barry Weiss, actually claimed he knew nothing about Robert’s behavior, which is just ridiculous because Jive Records was literally named as a party in several lawsuits by this point.
In February 2019, Robert was indicted for the second time on ten counts of criminal sexual abuse involving 4 victims-- 3 of them minors. One of the lawyers representing the victims, Michael Avenatti, discovered yet another sex tape where Robert assaults a minor.
One of the victims in this case was Jerhonda Pace, who had offered a piece of evidence, a tee shirt that she used to wipe his semen off of herself. Joy and Azriel were ushered in and out of the court by a middle-aged white woman. They both stared straight ahead at Robert the whole time. They didn’t even glance at their parents, who were there in the courtroom.
His latest attorney maintained his innocence by saying “He’s a rockstar. He doesn’t have to have nonconsensual sex.”
His bond was paid and he and his crew went to the Rock n Roll McDonalds. A bunch of fans heard he was there and showed up bumping his music in the parking lot. Robert posted a video on his facebook page where he said “like a lot of you motherfuckers, I am handcuffed by my destiny. It’s too late. They shoulda did this shit 30 years ago.It’s too late. The music has been injected into the world.
Gayle King interviews
In March 2019, Robert Kelly did an interview with Gayle King.
You guys remember those memes, right? Where R Kelly flew into a fucking raaaage.
So Gayle was trying to ask him about his response to Surviving R Kelly. She asked him about if he ever kept anyone against their will.
And Robert just like, lost his ever-loving shit. Like he starts getting agitated and raising his voice, and like pounding his fist into his hand, saying like “I’M BEING ASSASSINATED!”
What really gets me about this interview is that as he’s defending himself, he’s like “Why would I hold someone against their will? Why, in the middle of all I’m going through, would I do that? That’s STUPID!! Use your common sense!”
This is funny because this is like, EXACTLY what Woody Allen said! And I said it then and I’ll say it again-- Your best excuse is that you’re not quite stupid enough to do that? Come on buddy. We’re in an age of true crime obsession and I know that I can’t be the only one thinking that, all logic goes out the window when you have this kind of compulsion. And people talk about him like, it’s impossible for him to hold someone “against their will”. Like why would it be against their will? It’s R Kelly, of course they WANT to be there. How could The World’s Greatest, R Kelly, ever possibly rape someone? Who wouldn’t want it? Kind of reminds me of a certain somebody who said they could just “grab ‘em by the pussy” because of his power.
Right? Ok then.
But anyway he seriously like, becomes unglued in the interview. He stands up and starts wagging his finger in Gayle’s face, and she just remains seated, acting cool, calm, and collected.
Seriously, look at the pictures. I’m sure you’ve seen them but look again. You really just get these like anRY SCARY vibes from him. She told him that she hopes he gets help.
Then, Gayle King interviewed Azriel Clary and Joycelyn Savage, who were still in the cult at that time. Since their parents are claiming that they are brainwashed and need rescuing, Gayls asks them questions about the relationship and tries to understand it. Azriel was pretty fucking defensive about the relationship. Like instantly started defending it and defending Robert. They both said they absolutely love him and they’re happy and safe. But, it turns out, Robert was lurking over them in the corner of the room while they were being interviewed.
The day the first interview aired, Robert was arrested for failing to pay child support. He owed his ex-wife, Drea, $160,000.
That same day, authorities opened an investigation into a woman’s claims that Robert had sex with her in 2001, when she was just 13 years old.
In May 2019, Robert was hit with 11 new charges related to sex crimes. Some of these counts carried a maximum sentence of 30 years in prison. Rob’s lawyer said that this was related to a previous case, and these were not new allegations from a new accuser.
In July 2019, Robert was arrested again, while walking his dog. Authorities were afraid that he was a flight risk, so they requested a pretrial detention.
The US attorney’s office issued a press release describing five accusers, named Jane Doe 1-5, and the charges: "Racketeering predicated on criminal conduct including sexual exploitation of children, kidnapping, forced labor and Mann Act violations involving the coercion and transportation of women and girls in interstate commerce to engage in illegal sexual activity.
Robert was also accused of forcing victims and their families to take lie-detector tests, to make sure they didn’t have secret copies of the videos he made.
In addition to that, it also alleges that Robert arranged for a victim and her parents to travel internationally so they wouldn’t be able to talk to police back in 2002, when he was indicted the first time.
Remember, when the authorities were trying to question Reshonda and her parents about the sex tape, and then they heard that she was on tour in Europe? Mmmhmmm.
In August 2019, he was charged for prostitution and solicitation. They claimed that Robert solicited a 17 year old girl at one of his concerts, and paid her $200 to dance naked with him back in 2001.
He was denied bail
citing "the strong possibility of witness tampering" in the singer's upcoming trial, and they were worried about the threat of physical harm to witnesses.
A new victim was added to the charges. There’s not a lot of information, just that she met Robert in the late ‘90’s when she was 14 or 15. Robert pled not guilty to everything, as always.
In August 2020, three of Kelly's associates were charged with attempting to intimidate, harass or pay off alleged victims in the racketeering case against the singer.
Prosecutors say one victim was offered $500,000 (£376,300) to buy her silence, although no money was ultimately exchanged. Another was threatened with the release of sexually explicit photos, and a third woke up to find her car had been set alight in her driveway.
The charges, filed in New York, do not indicate whether Kelly authorised the actions - and the star's lawyer denies any involvement
Just a week after that, Robert was attacked in jail.
Apparently, there were Pro-R Kelly protests going on outside of the jail, so they would lock down the entire facility. This other inmate was apparently angry because they were not able to get visitors because of the protests. So he went up to Robert while he was sitting in his bed and just started punching him.
By the end of 2020, Azriel and Joycelyn both left Robert. But not before brawling with each other.
Azriel left Robert first and apparently she went to his arraignment but not for him, she actually went to try to help Joycelyn. I don’t exactly understand what happened. There's a video on YouTube but it’s just like, Joycelyn shows up where Azriel is staying and they argue, and it’s just like two girls screaming and smacking each other. I’ll link it on brokenlimelight.com under this episode’s notes.
During the altercation, Azriel actually threatened to have Joycelyn arrested for having sex with a minor (because Azriel was underage, and Robert made them have sex).
Joycelyn was arrested, but apparently she met her parents at the courthouse. This was the first time she saw them in 3 years.
Joycelyn was the last woman to leave Robert. She was the only one left and with Robert in jail, there was a lot of debt and no money. So Joycelyn got a small apartment and Robert was intending to live with her, according to court documents.
But it didn’t last long, she has since spoken out.
Ok so let’s fast forward to today. Currently, R Kelly is in jail. He’s been incarcerated since 2019. He’s fighting the charges related to racketeering and sexual assault and kidnapping, and they’re also looking more into the marriage to Aaliyah. They believe that Robert married her so that she couldn’t testify against him, and they’re also charging that Robert bribed a government employee to give them fake identification, showing that Aaliyah was 18 instead of 15.
And furthermore, they’re now acknowledging that if they were “married”, is he really still denying that they had sex? They’re also now trying to introduce video evidence, specifically showing Robert getting physical and violent with the victims.
I’m kind of losing track of all the women who are included in this current lawsuit. However, there are now 2 male victims who have been added to that. Allegedly, Robert met a 17 year old boy at McDonalds in 2006 and initiated a sexual relationship. The boy claims that Robert made him have sex with other people. This boy introduced a friend to Robert, who was 16 or 17. Robert started having sex with this guy a few years later, and he also made him have sex with others, women, including an underage girl. As always, these encounters were filmed.
Kelly is currently being held in Brooklyn. The two sets of federal charges against him are pending in New York and in Illinois. In all, he faces 22 federal criminal charges that involve allegedly abusing girls and women over the course of more than two decades, and that he led a circle of managers, drivers, bodyguards and other entourage members who helped him. His New York trial is scheduled to begin on Aug. 9.
In 2019, Robert’s ex-laywer Ed Genson:
“He was guilty as hell”
As if R. Kelly didn't have enough legal woes, now his ex-lawyer, who saw him through child-porn charges more than a decade ago, told a Chicago newspaper columnist Friday that the R&B star was "guilty as hell."
“I can say whatever I want, but we’ve got to do it fast,” he told Steinberg. “It would be nice to get it down so somebody knows besides me.”
Kelly is currently being held in Brooklyn. The two sets of federal charges against him are pending in New York and in Illinois. In all, he faces 22 federal criminal charges that involve allegedly abusing girls and women over the course of more than two decades, and that he led a circle of managers, drivers, bodyguards and other entourage members who helped him. His New York trial is scheduled to begin on Aug. 9.
Alright there’s just one more thing I want to mention, and it’s about Aaliyah. Now I’ve heard conspiracy theories about her death and one thing I’ve heard is that Robert may have arranged her death. I never really saw any evidence pointing to that, but I want to mention something interesting I just came across.
There’s a book called “Baby Girl, Better Known As Aaliyah” and it describes how Aaliyah was given a pill before the flight “for anxiety” because she really, really didn’t want to board it. A cab driver says that he witnessed Aaliyah being carried onto the plane, completely knocked out. Minutes after he saw her entourage carrying her on board, he heard the plane crash.
I acknowledge that this might not be related to R. Kelly, but I thought I’d point it out in case you guys want to fall into your own little rabbit holes.
Conspiracy- did R Kelly kill Aaliyah?
Ok well, that’s it for my research. This shit was overwhelmingly dark. I know people have their opinions about R. Kelly and I really hope that this was eye opening for you guys.
My thing is, everyone who defends Robert Kelly and insists it’s not him in the tape and that he’s innocent of everything and he would never commit those crimes, why didn’t ANY of those people say “well who IS that man on the tape? Who is that clearly underaged girl, if not Reshonda Landfair?! Where are these people? If there are more of those tapes, why don’t we find them and try to identify these people?
I mean, what that shows me is that whether or not that was R. Kelly on the tapes, nobody cared about that victim. Not really. Not enough to find her and save her.
Unless, maybe, they know exactly who she is.
If I learned anything after the episodes I did about Woody Allen, is that some people love these artists so much, SO MUCH, that they love them as if they know them. And no amount of evidence can challenge their love for them.
And before anyone tells me “innocent until proven guilty”, all I hear when you say that is that you will always choose to believe bad people, even when clear evidence is presented.
And just like I said about Dylan Farrow, it is absolutely unfair to expect vulnerable young women to produce evidence in a case of brainwashing and abuse, especially when they’re still young and their brains aren’t even fully developed.
And that’s exactly why these creepos go after these young girls.
At the end of the day, here’s what I think:
This man needs help. He needs a fancy rehab facility for his sexual addiction; he needs some real, substantial therapy and get help with the root of his issues; and he needs for his friends and crew to stop enabling him. I mean when R. Kelly shows these sex tapes to his buddies on the tour bus, we can all hope that they’re all secretly disgusted, but the truth of the matter is probably that his buddy’s were into it, and maybe gave him props on it.
Like his close friend, Kim Delaney said, “to blindly support Robert is to do a disservice to Robert.” We’re not helping anyone by supporting Robert like this. Not the victims, and not him.
In the past 30 years, has anyone close to him tried to get him help? Other than the libido reducing injections, what measures were taken? And were they taken just to hide what he was doing behind the scenes, or was anyone ever actually trying to get him help?
Okay well thank you guys for following Broken Limelight! I hope you enjoyed this dark tale. I appreciate all of the support I’ve been getting lately.
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Also, if you want to hear true crime cases that are not about celebrities, I highly recommend you listen to Mourning Murders. That’s mourning with a U, mourning-- murders. They’re 3 of the funniest bitches I know and boy do they know how to tell a true crime tale.
Until next time. Bye!
**This case BURNED ME THE F*** OUT. If you'd like to do a further deep dive on R. Kelly and learn about recent updates, I *highly* recommend the YouTuber DivaDivineLight.
R. Kelly with Aaliyah
Azriel Clary & Joycelyn Savage