$1.4m bail for singer R. Kelly charged with sexually abusing teens, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

$1.4m bail for singer R. Kelly charged with sexually abusing teens

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A US judge set US$1 million (S$1.4 million) bail for R&B superstar R. Kelly on Saturday after prosecutors laid out graphic details of charges that he sexually abused four victims, three of them minors.

The grave-faced singer appeared in a packed courtroom in a black hooded sweatshirt with his hands handcuffed behind his back.

In setting bail, Cook County Judge John Fitzgerald Lyke Jr. ordered Kelly to have no contact with anyone under 18 years old and to have no contact with any of the alleged victims or witnesses.

He was also required to relinquish his passport.

"He is devastated," Kelly's attorney Steve Greenberg said.

"Here is someone who at one point was a huge star. Now he is sitting behind bars."

In the bail hearing, prosecutors offered new details of their case - including a shocking accusation that Kelly met one underage victim while giving autographs during his 2008 trial.

They described a video showing Kelly repeatedly having sex with a 14-year-old, DNA evidence from another victim's shirt that they said matched Kelly's and semen from yet another victim's clothes that preliminary tests showed appeared to be his.

Prosecutor Kimberly Foxx told reporters that a witness, not publicly identified, had provided the video showing Kelly having oral and vaginal sex with the youngest girl some time between 1998 and 2001, when he would have been in his early 30s. Kelly is now 52.

In 1998, Kelly allegedly met another girl at a restaurant where she was celebrating her 16th birthday party, invited her to his studio and had sex with her several times after that, each time giving her an envelope with "a large amount of money," Ms Foxx said.

In 2008, he allegedly met a girl who was under 17 while giving autographs during his criminal trial on child pornography charges and had sex with her multiple times until 2010.

"At times, Kelly would spit on her, slap her on her face and choke her", the prosecution alleged in court.

Although his bail was set at US$1 million, Kelly needs to put up only a tenth that amount, or US$100,000, to be let out of jail. But his attorney was unsure when the singer would be able to pay.

"His finances are a mess," Mr Greenberg told the judge in court.

After the hearing, he added: "He is entitled to a presumption of innocence. He did not force anyone to have sex. He is a rock star. He doesn't have to have non-consensual sex."

Kelly is next due in court today, at which time a trial judge will be assigned to his case.

He is scheduled for a March 8 arraignment, when he will have an opportunity to enter a plea. - AFP