Chicago Sun-Times Reporter Jim DeRogatis Talks "Stomach Churning" R. Kelly Rape Allegations with The Village Voice

Brad Bershad

by Brad Bershad

Published December 16, 2013


In a new interview with New York City's Village Voice titled "Read the 'Stomach-Churning' Sexual Assault Accusations Against R. Kelly in Full," Chicago Sun-Times reporter Jim DeRogatis has brought attention back to R. Kelly's history of inappropriate behavior around underage girls. Head over to the Village Voice website for the published interview, as well as over 15 formal legal documents detailing allegations against R. Kelly that DeRogatis has collected over the years.

When R. Kelly headlined the Pitchfork Music Festival in Chicago last summer, DeRogatis was pulled back into the mainstream media conversation. Here are some of the most shocking parts of the recent interview with The Village Voice, conducted by Jessica Hopper:

The one young woman, who had been 14 or 15 when R. Kelly began a relationship with her, detailed in great length, in her affidavits, a sexual relationship that began at Kenwood Academy: He would go back in the early years of his success and go to Lina McLin's gospel choir class. She's a legend in Chicago, gospel royalty. He would go to her sophomore class and hook up with girls afterward and have sex with them. Sometimes buy them a pair of sneakers. Sometimes just letting them hang out in his presence in the recording studio. She detailed the sexual relationship that she was scarred by. It lasted about one and a half to two years, and then he dumped her and she slit her wrists, tried to kill herself. Other girls were involved. She recruited other girls. He picked up other girls and made them all have sex together.


Part of our reporting was sitting with those girls, sitting with their families, seeing their scars on their wrists, hearing the emotion.


Dozens of girls -- not one, not two, dozens -- with harrowing lawsuits. The videotapes -- and not just one videotape, numerous videotapes. And not Tommy Lee/Pam Anderson, Kardashian fun video. You watch the video for which he was indicted and there is the disembodied look of the rape victim. He orders her to call him Daddy. He urinates in her mouth and instructs her at great length on how to position herself to receive his "gift." It's a rape that you're watching. So we're not talking about rock-star misbehavior, which men or women can do. We're talking about predatory behavior. Their lives were ruined. Read the lawsuits!


There was a young woman that he picked up on the evening of her prom. The relationship lasted a year and a half or two years. Impregnated her, paid for her abortion, had his goons drive her. None of which she wanted. She sued him. The saddest fact I've learned is: Nobody matters less to our society than young black women. Nobody. They have any complaint about the way they are treated: they are "bitches, hos, and gold diggers," plain and simple.


But if you're listening to "I want to marry you, pussy," and not realizing that he said that to Aaliyah, who was 14, and making an album he named Age Ain't Nothing but a Number -- I had Aaliyah's mother cry on my shoulder and say her daughter's life was ruined, Aaliyah's life was never the same after that. That's not an experience you've had. I'm not expecting you to feel the same way I do. But you can look at this body of evidence. You, meaning everybody who cares!


He's never had his day in court as a rapist. It's 15 years in the past now, but this record exists. You have to make a choice, as a listener, if music matters to you as more than mere entertainment. And you and I have spent our entire lives with that conviction. This is not just entertainment, this is our lifeblood. This matters.

While Kelly has never been found guilty of any criminal misconduct, he's left a trail of victims behind him that Jim DeRogatis has focused many years on reporting, researching, and interviewing. The story is nothing new, but it is no less important than it ever was. In light of R. Kelly's recently released album Black Panties, and his upcoming continued episodes of Trapped In The Closet on IFC, his past sexual indiscretions seem to have been sadly forgotten by the media and taken as a joke by the public at large.

Read the full interview at The Village Voice.

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