Meet the Woman Asking R. Kelly’s Accusers to Come Forward


She remembered her older cousin urging her to maintain it a secret. He had mentioned she would get in hassle if she instructed anybody that he had touched her. How her grandmother could be upset.

A yr later, as she walked house from faculty, two boys compelled her right into a Victorian home and raped her. She was in the second grade. How may she inform anybody, she puzzled? She didn’t even know who the boys have been.

Kim Foxx, 46, carried these traumas together with her when she stepped to a podium earlier this month and made a rare request in her first time period as Chicago’s prime prosecutor: She needed anybody with sexual abuse allegations towards the R&B artist R. Kelly to come ahead.

The plea got here in the wake of a six-hour tv documentary, “Surviving R. Kelly,” wherein a number of girls accused him of abuse, together with retaining them in a home and controlling them with concern and intimidation.

Whether they listen to Mr. Kelly’s music or not, Ms. Robinson said, black Chicagoans are unified in acknowledging “that they don’t protect their women and it’s time for them to step up.”

The documentary on Mr. Kelly “sickened me,” Ms. Foxx said. But she insisted that she was separating her feelings as a prosecutor, who must follow the law and the evidence, from those as a sexual assault survivor and mother of two teenage daughters.

As a toddler, Ms. Foxx lived in the Cabrini-Green public housing complex with her mother before the family moved to the North Side and bounced between apartments.

Ms. Foxx said she knew she wanted to become a lawyer when she was about 6 years old and her mother brought her to court for a proceeding to get child support from Ms. Foxx’s father. Ms. Foxx said she remembered being impressed by the lawyers’ fancy language and the fact that they were trying to help her mother.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science and a law degree at Southern Illinois University and then worked for Cook County as a guardian representing neglected children.

One case stood out. A 14-year-old client was abused by her stepfather, and the girl’s mother blamed her for the abuse and accused her of seducing the man, Ms. Foxx said. Ms. Foxx said she could not fathom that anyone could fault a child in a situation like that.

When she joined the Cook County state’s attorney office in 2001, she prosecuted sex crimes with a focus on people victimized by those in positions of authority.

A year after she became a prosecutor, the office filed 21 counts of child pornography charges against Mr. Kelly in connection with a tape of Mr. Kelly having sex with someone prosecutors asserted was a minor. A jury acquitted Mr. Kelly of all charges despite a 27-minute video that prosecutors said showed him having sex with and urinating on an underage girl. In local media reports, some jurors said that they couldn’t be certain about the identity of the female in the video.

Ms. Foxx was not involved in Mr. Kelly’s prosecution at that time, but she had a front-row seat not just to the drama playing out in court, but also to the one in the community.

At family outings, she said, she would hear his defenders question whether the girl in the tape was a willing participant, and whether this was simply an attempt to take down a black man at the height of his career.

Ms. Foxx would not say whether she still listens to Mr. Kelly’s music, saying that she did not want to show any bias in the event that there is a case against him. And she has insisted that the old prosecution had no bearing on her current actions as the state’s attorney.

Her office has received more than a dozen reports about Mr. Kelly since she made her request, she said. Two of the reports, she said, came from families that lost contact with relatives the families believed were being coerced by Mr. Kelly.

She said investigators would look into the complaints and that she would make a determination on how to proceed.

Ms. Foxx said she needed to be proactive in such cases, in part because survivors of sex crimes have a difficult time in coming forward.

“I hope that the public has seen that there is a real need to have conversations about sexual abuse and sexual assault,” she said, “particularly with young victims.”



Source link Nytimes.com

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