A judge dismissed sex-abuse charges against R&B singer R. Kelly on Tuesday based on the recommendation of a Chicago prosecutor.
The hearing lasted just minutes and came a day after Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx said she was comfortable dropping the case because Kelly will spend decades in prison for separate convictions in federal court.
Kelly was awaiting trial on state charges of sexually abusing four people in the Chicago area, three of whom were minors. He was not present when Judge Lawrence Flood dismissed the indictments.
Federal juries in Chicago and New York have convicted Kelly of a raft of crimes, including child pornography, enticement, racketeering and sex trafficking related to allegations that he victimized women and girls.
Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, is serving a 30-year prison sentence in the New York case and awaits sentencing on Feb. 23 in Chicago federal court.
Foxx acknowledged Monday that some Kelly accusers would be disappointed. Lanita Carter, who said she was sexually assaulted by R. Kelly in Feb. 2003, said justice was “denied for me.”
“I have spent nearly 20 years hoping that my abuser would be brought to justice for what he did to me,” Carter said Monday.
Another sexual-misconduct case is pending in Hennepin County, Minnesota, where the Grammy Award-winner faces solicitation charges. Prosecutors haven’t said whether they still intend to take Kelly to trial.
Known for his smash hit I Believe I Can Fly and for songs such as Bump n’ Grind, Kelly sold millions of albums even after allegations about his abuse of young girls began circulating publicly in the 1990s. He beat child pornography charges in Chicago in 2008, when a jury acquitted him.
Widespread outrage over Kelly’s sexual misconduct didn’t emerge until the #MeToo reckoning and the 2019 release of the Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly.