R. Kelly faces US$300,000 payout to sexual abuse victim
A U.S. federal judge reported on Wednesday that she plans to order disgraced R&B superstar R. Kelly to pay more than US$300,000 to one of his victims in a multi-tier scheme. decades aiming to use his fame to sexually abuse young fans.
A restitution order by US District Judge Ann Connelly that was still being finalized is intended to cover the cost of herpes treatment and psychotherapy. The victim, referred to only by a pseudonym, accused the imprisoned Kelly of giving her the sexually transmitted disease during one of their encounters.
Kelly could have to pay tens of thousands of dollars more to pay for herpes treatment and counseling for a second victim once the final tally is worked out. The judge denied a third request from another accuser.
The Grammy-winning and multi-platinum songwriter appeared in court in Brooklyn federal court via video from a Chicago camera, and spoke only to exchange greetings with the judge and to refuse an offer to say more. None of the victims were present.
Earlier this year, Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison following a trial in New York where the jury found him guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking. A second trial in Chicago ended on September 14 with his conviction for producing child pornography and inciting sex with girls.
The question now in the New York case is when and how Kelly will pay restitution. Prosecutors say he has access to up to US$5 million to go along with about US$28,000 seized from his Detainees Commissioner account which defense attorney Jennifer Bonjean said were made up of small donations from fans.
Bonjean told the judge that Kelly had no access to any other funds due to judgments in civil cases against him. She also insisted that her client has always been clueless about his finances.
« He’s not the best source of information, » she said.
Kelly achieved superstar status for her work, including the 1996 hit « I Believe I Can Fly » and the cult classic « Trapped in the Closet, » a multi-part tale of betrayal and sexual intrigue.