He says his brother just prefers younger women.
Earlier this year, the series Surviving R. Kelly broke open the entire sordid story of R. Kelly’s history of rape and abuse of young women. The multi-part series detailed the singer’s rise to the top of the music business, a position that enabled him to recruit very young girls, whom he sexually abused, sometimes for years. The women in the case describe being kept away from family and friends, being locked in his home, being forced to perform sex acts with him. Sometimes he would film sexual acts without their permission. Some of the girls were below the age of consent.
The stories about Kelly circulated for years but law enforcement never seriously pursued an investigation into him. He was charged with possessing child porn in 2008 but was found not guilty in that case. After the series, prosecutors took a closer look at him and he is now facing multiple criminal counts in Illinois and at the Federal level. People around him are also facing charges for abetting him.
One person who could be considered an enabler is Kelly’s older brother Bruce. In an interview on the show, Bruce tried to dismiss Kelly’s history of abusing underage girls as just his “preference” instead of admitting that it’s a crime.
Who is R Kelly’s brother? Read on for all the details.
1. Bros standing up for bros
In the docuseries Surviving R. Kelly, producers interviewed Kelly’s older brother Bruce about his famous sibling. When asked about the claims that his brother had a habit of dating girls too young to legally consent to relationships, he tried to downplay it. “You have people who have fantasies about different things,” he said. “I like older women, go figure, you know. But that’s just a preference. Everyone has preferences. So what is the big deal? What is the big issue with my brother?”
Kelly is accused of having sex with girls as young as 14 and filming the encounters. He was also indicted on child pornography in 2008. Sex with kids is illegal so that’s the big issue that Bruce was unable to grasp.
What’s the big deal?
2. We’re very jealous guys
The elder Kelly brother also tried to excuse the way his younger brother isolated women he was involved with. While most experts agree that a partner who cuts you off from contact with friends and family is acting emotionally abusive, Bruce seemed to think it was a natural offshoot of having strong feelings.
“Me and my brothers, we all have our ways with our girls,” Bruce said, according to People. “We’re very jealous guys. We don’t want our girls doing certain things, [you’re] not gon’ see our girls talking too much to people, that’s just the way we are.”
3. Pending criminal charges
After the documentary, law enforcement took a renewed interest in the allegations against Kelly, according to the New York Times. By summer, he was under indictment in Illinois for aggravated sexual assault and abuse. Later, federal charges were filed against him and he was arrested on July 12. Prosecutors presented a 13-count indictment that includes enticement of a minor and obstruction of justice and child pornography charges, said Joseph D. Fitzpatrick, an assistant United States attorney for the Northern District of Illinois. That same week, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn announced that he was being charged with one count of racketeering and four counts of violating the Mann Act, which prohibits transporting people across state lines for the purpose of prostitution.
He has been denied bail in the case and is expected to remain in jail until his trial in early 2020.
4. Civil suits in process
Kelly isn’t just in criminal court these days. There is a civil suit against him as well, the Times reports. Faith A. Rodgers, a Texas woman, is suing him for sexual battery, false imprisonment and knowingly infecting her with herpes without disclosing it. She is seeking unspecified damages. The suit alleges their first sexual encounter was non-consensual and that after that he engaged in a pattern of abuse that lasted for a year. The filing says he “routinely engaged in intimidation, mental, verbal and sexual abuse, during and after sexual contact” and it was “behavior designed to humiliate, embarrass, intimate and shame her.” Kelly also filmed Rogers without consent during sex.
In the past, women have sued Kelly over similar claims but he has always settled out of court.
5. Pay your legal bills
In addition to everything else Kelly has done wrong, he’s also stiffed his lawyer out of $12,000. WGN-TV reports that Lisa D’Amico represented him in a child support case and ended up billing $25,000. He only paid half the bill. Now she has asked a judge to order Kelly to pay the rest, despite the fact that he’s languishing in prison right now.
6. Doing time for burglary
Bruce Kelly’s entire appearance on the series was filmed in prison. Not because he was visiting his brother; R. Kelly wouldn’t be arrested until months after filming. Bruce Kelly is doing a sentence for a burglary he committed in 2016. He’s serving a sentence of two to four years, according to Vibe, and he is expected to be released in December 2019. He has prior convictions as well. There’s a drug possession charge from 2015 and a charge of theft and possession in October 2016. He was also booked on criminal trespassing and driving without a license in June 2017, just a month before he went into Vandalia Correctional Center to start his current sentence.
Bruce Kelly has never apologized for saying that raping young girls is just R. Kelly’s preference.
Rebekah Kuschmider has been writing about celebrities, pop culture, entertainment, and politics since 2010. Her work has been seen at Ravishly, Babble, Scary Mommy, The Mid, Redbook online, and The Broad Side. She is the creator of the blog Stay at Home Pundit and she is a cohost of the weekly podcast The More Perfect Union.