Last month, we reported that R. Kelly is under criminal investigation for allegedly grooming women to be his sex slaves in an abusive "sex cult."
Survivors have come forward and shared their stories for years, but nothing changed ... until Friday.
R. Kelly is now facing a number of disturbing charges, most of which are related to the sexual abuse of a minor.
The Chicago Sun-Times reports that R. Kelly has finally been charged.
He faces ten counts of aggravated sexual abuse in Cook County.
Nine of the ten charges specify that the victims were between the ages of 13 and 16.
On Friday afternoon, it was reported that a judge is expected to sign an arrest warrant for the rapper that day.
Kelly's court date has already been set for March 8.
This is fantastic and long-overdue news (and just in time for what has otherwise been a dismal Black History Month full of disappointments).
But unfortunately, some of the details of this case are ... truly disgusting.
Apparently, it was attorney Michael Avenatti who gave police a video featuring a man who appears to be R. Kelly.
In the video, the man is having sex with a young woman who appears to be underage.
During the video, the man is reportedly shown urinating on the young girl in question.
Also during the video -- and it is unclear if this is happening during the urination -- the man is heard discussing the girl's body.
He apparently "refers to her body parts as 14 years old."
The video in question is said to be 45 minutes in length.
Michael Avenatti spoke to CNN in an interview and explained how he came to be certain that the tape depicts R. Kelly.
"My client knows the identity of the girl and R. Kelly," Avenatti said. "He identified the two of them on the videotape."
"He worked for and has known R. Kelly for decades," Avenatti continued. "And he met the girl on a number of occasions."
Mere moments before the charges were announced on Friday, Avenatti posted a powerful subtweet.
"It's over," he tweeted.
Despite reports of the tape coinciding with these new charges, it has not been confirmed that the charges stem from the tape.
It is also unclear what other evidence is involved in these charges.
R. Kelly's attorney, Steven Greenberg, said on Friday that he has not yet been notified that his client has been charged.
Greenberg spoke to the Associated Press last month to categorically deny all of the things for which R. Kelly is infamous.
"[Kelly] never knowingly had sex with an underage woman, he never force anyone to do anything," Greenberg told the AP.
He continued his denials: "he never held anyone captive, he never abuse anyone."
R. Kelly was previously acquitted in 2008 after allegedly appearing in a similar sex tape.
At the time, many believed that his celebrity status and high-priced legal team had contributed to the jury's finding.
Even before the Surviving R. Kelly docuseries brought so much to light, many wondered if he would be so lucky a decade later.
The #MeToo movement helped bring a lot of social awareness about how powerful men use fame and fortune to get away with despicable deeds.
Notably, the tape that may or may not be part of the evidence behind these charges is said to contain the infamous identifying mole.
In 2008, Kelly's attorneys argued that the appearance of the mole was actually a glitch in the video.
Perhaps modern video technology will make that argument less convincing before a jury.
Even before Avenatti came forward with his client's tape, other investigations were underway.
Of particular note was what appeared to be an FBI investigation into some of the women believed to still be Kelly's captives.
The FBI neither confirms nor denies ongoing investigations of this nature, but at least one agent sought information from families of these women.
Based upon numerous accusations from women who have escaped what has been described as a sex cult, Kelly has a pattern with adult women.
He is said to seduce them, flatter them, and slowly distance them from friends, family, and their profession.
That, multiple survivors say, is when he becomes physically abusive and coercive, inflicting violence or starvation to punish disobedience.
He is also reported to have an interest in underage girls whom he "trains" to serve him.
Friday's charges are welcome, but long overdue.
We hope that justice is done.