Singer R. Kelly faces new charges in Minnesota

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At this point, it is not necessarily shocking that embattled r&b megastar, R. Kelly, is facing charges. From an outsider’s perspective, it is baffling how one man will stand trial and serve appropriate sentences should he be found guilty for even part of the charges.

Each new charge, or set of charges, illustrates the complexity of chronic sexual abuse and the role that the alleged perpetrator’s stardom plays in the continuation of that abuse.

R. Kelly and continued sexual abuse charges

The latest charges against the singer stem from an event in 2001 in Hennepin County, Minnesota, where Minneapolis is located. According to the StarTribune, a then-17-year-old girl met Kelly at an event and when she received an autograph, he gave her a phone number. When the as-yet-unnamed victim called the number, she was directed to a hotel in downtown Minneapolis. There, Kelly paid her $200 to dance for him. According to the suit, some touching took place, but no intercourse. The victim is being represented by famed attorney, Gloria Allred, who is representing several other of Kelly’s accusers.

After #mute R. Kelly

Kelly’s representatives continue to claim that the accusers are after money. But if they were after money, wouldn’t it have made sense to file charges before the singer claimed he was going broke and had to have a stranger bail him out?

The insults aimed at the victims do one thing: threaten to mute the victims. And while what Kelly is accused of is heinous, the listening public would be naïve to think that he is the only famous man behaving this way.

Still, though, at the risk of sounding too sympathetic, a person might wonder if there is a disorder of some kind that is fueling Kelly’s behavior? And, if so, how should it be treated? The treatment, whatever it may be, should not come in lieu of any jail time Kelly is sentenced to. This is just a theory. The actions he is accused of are so pervasive, that it is difficult to fathom no one reporting them for years.

What continues to be unclear is where Kelly will serve time, where a trial will take place and so forth, with charges originating from various parts of the country.

A cursory read of online comments show people who are diehard fans who refuse to mute Kelly. Still, millions of fans were listening to, and supporting him while the singer was allegedly perpetrating crimes against women and girls.

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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana who lives in New York City where she studies creative nonfiction at Columbia University. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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