Saturday, February 23, 2019

Have times changed to shift support away from R. Kelly’s alleged penchant for being too close to young girls?

I’m eager to see how the whole saga related to R&B singer R. Kelly plays out – will his celebrity status continue to make people think he’s somehow above the law and shouldn’t be punished?
Or has his time finally run out? Will he wind up facing legal consequences as a result of the criminal indictments he was hit with Friday – as a result of allegations that Kelly (who is 52) has a thing for girls aged roughly 16.

THE CHARGES OF aggravated criminal sexual assault for which he was hit were for incidents involving four females – three of whom were 16 or younger. His initial appearance in Cook County Circuit Court for a bond hearing is set for Saturday.

Now the reason I’m not yet convinced that anything significant will become of all this is because this isn’t even the first time Kelly has faced criminal charges related to his conduct with young girls.

It was back in 2008 when prosecutors pushed for charges, and he wound up going on trial for claims that his use of video cameras to record his activities amounted to child pornography.

He was acquitted for all those charges, and there were people back then who were more than willing to believe speculation that Kelly was being persecuted. Similar to the 2005 trial of “King of Pop” Michael Jackson – who was found not guilty of criminal charges claiming he had a “thing” for young boys.

THERE WERE PEOPLE more than willing to see their prosecution as petty acts by petty prosecutors who couldn’t handle the thought of a black person being successful.

It was true that during Kelly’s last criminal trial, the case ultimately fell apart when the girls who supposedly were molested were unwilling to confirm that anything improper was done to them.

So what will happen as this case works its way through the legal process?

There are some who think that activists with a focus on abuse against women will manage to prevail. We’ll see his behavior as so tacky that we’ll eagerly hope he gets found guilty of each count against him – with prison terms piled up consecutively.

THERE ARE THOSE who already are speculating on a 70-year prison term for R. Kelly – with just the slightest touch of disgust that probation is also an option.

Not that I’m counting on such an outcome occurring yet. Let’s not forget the recently-completed criminal trial of former Chicago cop Jason Van Dyke. Remember the people who speculated on a pileup of sentences that could result it a 90-year-plus prison sentence?

And just what was it that Van Dyke ultimately got as punishment for the incident involving a 17-year-old being shot to death? A judge who figured out a way to give him a prison sentence that – when time off for good behavior is factored in – will come to just over three years served in prison somewhere.

There are those who think Van Dyke should suffer more. Will there be a outburst of anger from people eager to see Kelly suffer?

IT MOST DEFINITELY won’t be the same people. I suspect the kind of people anxious to see Van Dyke suffer will be the ones most likely to think that Kelly is somehow being persecuted.

It’s ultimately going to be a matter of how many people still have sympathetic memories of watching “Space Jam,” whose theme song “I Believe I Can Fly” was performed by Kelly. To the point where they can’t believe anybody connected through the film to basketball star Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny himself could do anything immoral.

The fact is that some people do have the ability to overlook fact, thinking of them as the sordid details that distract from truth – or at least truth as they want to view it.

We’ll have to wait and see just how much we’re willing to take a serious look at what has occurred here.


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