R. Kelly ‘Sexually Abused’ Aaliyah When She Was In Her Early Teens, Witness Says

by : Hannah Smith on : 14 Sep 2021 08:24
R. Kelly ‘Sexually Abused’ Aaliyah When She Was In Her Early Teens, Witness SaysAaliyah’s Gems/YouTube/PA

A witness has said she encountered R. Kelly sexually abusing Aaliyah when she was in her early teens, a year before the two were illegally married.

The woman, who testified under the name Angela, said she was a back-up performer for the singer – real name Robert Kelly – in 1993 when she witnessed him performing a sex act on Aaliyah on his tour bus. Aaliyah, who died aged 22 in 2001, would have been only 13 or 14 at the time.

R. Kelly in court (PA Images)PA Images

Angela, who is one of multiple woman to have accused R. Kelly of having sex with them while they were underage, was testifying on the 15th day of Kelly’s criminal trial in New York. She told a jury that she had gone to see Kelly on his bus, only to encounter him ‘in a sexual situation’ with the young singer. She said she ‘closed the door abruptly’ and never spoke to either Kelly or Aaliyah about what she saw.

Kelly is facing one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act by transporting people across state lines for the purpose of prostitution. He denies the charges.

Much of the trial has focused on the relationship between Kelly and Aaliyah, The New York Times reports, with the pair having illegally married using falsified documents in 1994 when Aaliyah was just 15. Aaliyah had the marriage annulled a year later and stopped working with Kelly thereafter.

Aaliyah (Mikael Väisänen/Wikimedia Commons)Mikael Väisänen/Wikimedia Commons

Angela, who alleges she and other performers on tour with Kelly were frequently pressured to have sex with him as a way of ‘paying their dues’, is the first person to have testified that they directly witnessed sexual activity between Kelly and Aaliyah.

However several other witnesses have said that they were aware of the relationship between the pair, including a former tour manager who claimed Kelly told him that he was ‘seducing her’. Demetrious Smith also claimed that Kelly instigated the marriage because he feared Aaliyah was pregnant and wanted to avoid being prosecuted for statutory rape.

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Hannah Smith

Hannah is a London-based journalist covering news and features for UNILAD. She's especially interested in social and political activism.

Topics: Music, no-article-matching, R Kelly


New York Times
  1. New York Times

    R. Kelly Sexually Abused Aaliyah When She Was 13 or 14, Witness Says