via the Associated Press
After being charged with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse back in February of this year, R. Kelly has now lost a civil lawsuit in a default ruling.
As reported by The Chicago Tribune, the R&B singer failed to appear in Cook County Circuit Court to answer to allegations he sexually abused an underage girl in the late 1990s despite being served with a court summons to attend proceedings on Wednesday (April 24).
Due to his failure to make the court-ordered appearance, Judge Moira Johnson granted a default judgment in the civil lawsuit. The suit, which was filed back in February by attorney Jeffrey Deutschman, claims that the singer engaged in repeated sexual contact with a woman beginning in 1998 when she was just 16 years old. The alleged victim, who is now 36, is identified as "H.W." in court documents.
According to reports, Kelly could reverse the judgement in the event he chooses an attorney involved in response to the suit. The singer was served a court summons in the matter while he was incarcerated at the Cook County Jail due to failing to pay back child support.
If Kelly decides to opt out of hiring an attorney to handle the situation, he could be ordered to pay damages as soon as next month when the alleged victim is expected to testify about her experiences with the singer. According to Deutschman, his client's testimony will likely be conducted in Johnson's chambers.
H.W. is one of the four alleged victims who came forward against Kelly with accusations of sexual abuse earlier this year. Of the four women, three were reportedly under the age of 17 when the alleged abuse was conducted.
As previously reported, H.W. claims the singer was aware of the fact that she was only 16 when they met. She claims Kelly's manager gave her a business card with his phone number on it, leading to the pair to make contact with one another despite the then-teenage girl's mother's wishes. H.W. and the singer allegedly had sexual encounters about once per month between May 26, 1998 to May 25, 1999.
The suit also notes that as H.W. entered adulthood and later began therapy, she realized that her "great shame, guilt, self-blame, confusion, depression" and other emotional distress was a result of sexual abuse she suffered at Kelly's hand.
"Prior to that time, (H.W.) was unable to link in her mind the acts of childhood sexual abuse by the defendant to her fragile emotional and mental state and her problems stemming from that abuse," the suit reads.
If Kelly is convicted on the 10 counts, he could face 70 years in prison. He entered a not guilty plea and is awaiting trial.