A warrant has been issued for R. Kelly’s arrest after Chicago, Illinois prosecutors charged him with multiple counts of sexual abuse of a minor.
On Friday, a spokesperson at the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office announced the R&B veteran had been slapped with 10 felony charges of aggravated criminal sexual abuse, relating to alleged incidents with four females. At least three of them are said to have been between 13 to 16 years of age when the reported encounters took place.
The arrest warrant was issued by a judge on Friday afternoon, reports NBC.
Kelly has been ordered to appear in court on 8 March to face the charges, which each carry a sentence of between three to seven years in prison if convicted, according to TMZ.
The news emerges hours after it was reported that two women had testified to a grand jury about engaging in sexual relations with the 52 year old when they were underage.
Sources told TMZ that one of the purported victims alleges they had sex in Illinois between 2008 and 2010, and even provided physical proof to prosecutors to support her story, although the nature of the evidence is unknown.
Authorities are said to have secretly convened the grand jury earlier this month to examine evidence from a sex tape turned over by a client of lawyer Michael Avenatti. The explicit footage allegedly features Kelly having sex with a 14-year-old girl and urinating on her.
At the time, the musician’s legal representative, Steven Greenberg, dismissed the grand jury reports as false.
He has yet to comment on the felony charges.
Kelly has maintained his innocence despite facing decades of sexual misconduct claims, which hit headlines again in January following the broadcast of damning docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, which chronicled the long-running accusations made against the singer.
The show also examined rumors suggesting he had been holding girls and young women captive at properties in Chicago and Atlanta, Georgia as part of a purported sex cult – accusations his attorneys have repeatedly denied.
Last month, defense attorney Greenberg made it clear his client had done nothing wrong.
“The allegations aren’t true because he never knowingly had sex with an underage woman, he never forced anyone to do anything, he never held anyone captive, he never abused anyone,” he told The Associated Press.
However, Kelly’s purported actions have remained under scrutiny and on Thursday, two more women went public with claims against the musician, telling reporters in New York they had been young teens when they were allegedly invited to join him in a hotel suite following a concert in Baltimore, Maryland back in 1995.
The Ignition (Remix) hitmaker was previously found not guilty of 14 counts of child pornography following the 2002 release of a sex tape showing the singer urinating on a female who was allegedly underage.