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September 15, 2022Chicago, IL, United StatesChild Exploitation

HSI, joint law enforcement partner investigation leads to conviction for artist R. Kelly on federal child pornography, exploitation charges

CHICAGO — A federal jury in Chicago today convicted recording artist Robert Sylvester Kelly, aka “R. Kelly,” on child pornography and exploitation charges following an investigation by Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and multiple law enforcement partners.

Evidence at the four-week trial in U.S. District Court in Chicago revealed that Kelly enticed multiple girls to engage in criminal sexual activity and recorded some of the abuse on videotape. Kelly met the victims in the late 1990s and engaged in sex acts with them while they were under the age of 18.

Kelly, 55, of Chicago, was convicted on three counts of producing child pornography and three counts of enticing a minor to engage in sexual activity. Producing child pornography carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in federal prison and a maximum of 20 years. The maximum sentence for enticement of a minor is 10 years. In all, Kelly faces a sentence of 10-90 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Harry D. Leinenweber did not immediately set a sentencing date.

The conviction was announced by R. Sean Fitzgerald, Acting Special Agent-in-Charge of HSI Chicago; John R. Lausch, Jr., United States Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois; and Justin Campbell, Special Agent-in-Charge of the IRS Criminal Investigation Division in Chicago. Substantial assistance was provided by the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office and the Chicago Police Department. Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jeannice W. Appenteng, Elizabeth R. Pozolo, Jason A. Julien, and Brian F. Williamson represented the government.

The jury acquitted Kelly on seven other counts, including one count of child pornography, one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, one count of conspiracy to receive child pornography, two counts of receiving child pornography, and two counts of enticing a minor to engage in criminal sexual activity. The jury also acquitted two co-defendants, who were former employees of Kelly’s music business: Derrel McDavid, 61, of Chicago (acquitted of one count of conspiracy to obstruct justice, one count of conspiracy to receive child pornography, and two counts of receiving child pornography); and Milton Brown, aka “June Brown,” 56, of Chicago (acquitted of one count of conspiracy to receive child pornography).

“The guilty verdicts finally hold Robert Kelly accountable for the sexual abuse of a 14-year-old girl, and they help right the wrongs that occurred in a prior prosecution in Cook County,” said U.S. Attorney Lausch. “The damage Mr. Kelly inflicted on his victims is immeasurable. I want to thank the victims for their strength, perseverance, and courage in coming forward to testify at trial. With regard to the not-guilty verdicts, we respect the jury’s decision. While certain aspects of the charges and the trial made it difficult to obtain convictions for all of the charged conduct, it is clear that justice has been served by the guilty verdicts returned today.”

Learn more about HSI’s mission to combat child exploitation in your community on Twitter @HSIChicago.

Homeland Security Investigations

HSI is a directorate of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the principal investigative arm of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), responsible for investigating transnational crime and threats, specifically those criminal organizations that exploit the global infrastructure through which international trade, travel, and finance move. HSI’s workforce of over 10,400 employees consists of more than 6,800 special agents assigned to 225 cities throughout the United States, and 86 overseas locations in 55 countries. HSI’s international presence represents DHS’s largest investigative law enforcement presence abroad and one of the largest international footprints in U.S. law enforcement.

Updated: 09/15/2022