It's been nearly 15 years since music journalist Jim DeRogatis of Chicago Sun-Times was anonymously delivered two videos that would change his life.
Those videos depicted R&B star R. Kelly engaging in sexual acts with underage girls.
Now the host of the syndicated public radio show and a professor at Columbia College, DeRogatis didn't just break the story that shocked the nation.
He did the only significant reporting on the accusations against Kelly, interviewing hundreds of people over the years, including dozens of women.
Women whose lives DeRogatis says were ruined by Kelly, who went unpunished.
This summer, leading up to Kelly's headlining performance at the Pitchfork Music Festival, DeRogatis posted a series of discussions about Kelly's career.
He published a live review of the singer's festival set that was an indictment of Pitchfork and its audience for essentially endorsing a man he calls "a monster."
In the two weeks since Kelly released his album Black Panties, the conversation about him and why he gets a pass from the media has been rekindled.
As part of an exhaustive interview with the Village Voice, DeRogatis gave access to every file and transcript he has collected in reporting this story.
DeRogatis speaks frankly when he opines that "the saddest fact I've learned is nobody matters less to our society than young black women. Nobody."
"Being a beat reporter, music critic at a Chicago daily, the Sun-Times, R. Kelly was a huge story for me," he recalls. "I interviewed him a number of times."
"This guy who rose from not graduating from Kenwood Academy, singing at backyard barbecues and on the El, to suddenly selling millions of records."
He wrote in a review that the jarring thing about Kelly is that "one moment he wants to be riding you" and "then next minute he's on his knees, crying."
Watching Kelly's overtly sexual performances juxtaposed with "praying to his dead mother for forgiveness for his unnamed sins ... it's a little weird at times."
The next day at the Sun-Times, an anonymous fax came claiming R. Kelly had been under investigation for years by the sex crimes unit of the Chicago police.
His first thought was a dismissive "player-hater." But there were rumors from the beginning that Kelly likes them young, so DeRogatis did some digging.
What he found were lawsuits (multiple) "that were explosive" and extremely, graphically detailed and "didn't understand why nobody had reported them."
DeRogatis writes of the lawsuits filed against Kelly:
"They were stomach-churning. The one young woman, 14 or 15 when R. Kelly began a relationship with her, detailed in great length a sexual relationship that began at Kenwood Academy."
"He would 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. A level of specificity that was pretty disgusting."
Her lawsuit was hundreds of pages long, and Kelly counter-sued, denying everything. The lawsuits, the two that he had found initially, had been settled.
Kelly paid the women and their families money and the settlements were sealed by the court. But of course, the initial lawsuits are public record.
The shocking part? Having videos sent to him next.
"These were dozens of girls - not one, not two, dozens - with harrowing lawsuits," he says. "There are videotapes. Not just one videotape, numerous videotapes."
"Not Tommy Lee/Pam Anderson, [Kim Kardashian sex tape] fun videos. 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 are 'bitches, hos, and gold-diggers,' plain and simple. Kelly never misbehaved with a single white girl who sued him or that we know of."
"Mark Anthony Neal, the African-American scholar, makes this point: one white girl in Winnetka and the story would have been different."
"No, it was young black girls and all of them settled. They settled because they felt they could get no justice whatsoever. They didn't have a chance."
"These girls feared for their lives. They feared for the safety of their families. And these people talked to me not because I'm super reporter."
"We rang a lot of doorbells on the South and West sides, and people were eager to talk about this guy, because they wanted him to stop!"
Follow the above link to continue reading this harrowing story ...