R Kelly Found NOT GUILTY in Child Sex Case

June 13, 2008

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A Chicago jury has acquitted R. Kelly on all counts at his child pornography trial.

The verdict came six years after the R&B superstar was first charged with videotaping himself having sex with a young girl. Prosecutors had said she was as young as 13 at the time.

The Grammy award-winning singer dabbed his face with a handkerchief and hugged each of his four attorneys after the verdict was read. The singer had faced 15 years in prison if convicted.

Both Kelly and the now 23-year-old alleged victim had denied they were the ones appearing on the tape, which was played for the jury at the beginning and end of the trial.

The prosecution’s star witness was a woman who said she engaged in three-way sex with Kelly and the girl from the video. Defense attorneys argued the man on the tape didn’t have a large mole on his back, as Kelly does.

The jury of nine men and three women included the wife of a Baptist preacher from Kelly’s Chicago-area hometown, as well as a compliance officer for a Chicago investment firm and a man in his 60s who emigrated from then-Communist Romania nearly 40 years ago.

Jurors took the sex tape at the center of the trial with them, and a monitor was set up in the jury room in case they wanted to review it.

Kelly was charged with 14 counts of videotaping himself having sex with an underage girl, who prosecutors say was as young as 13.

The 41-year-old superstar’s trial was repeatedly delayed, once because the judge seriously injured himself falling off a ladder and another time because Kelly had emergency surgery to remove his appendix.

In closing arguments, Kelly’s attorney banged on the jury box with his fist, yelled and whispered, laughed and pleaded for more than in hour in his emotion-filled closing.

At one point, Sam Adam Jr. referred to a defense argument made repeatedly during the trial that a mole on the singer’s back proved he simply can’t be the man in the video.

After displaying a freeze frame of the man’s back in the video — with no apparent mole — Adam walked over to the defense table and placed his hand on Kelly’s shoulder.

“The truth be told, there is no mole … that means one thing,” Adam told jurors, then paused and lowered his voice. “It ain’t him. And if it ain’t him, you can’t convict.”

Prosecutors wrapped up their arguments the same way they began them a month ago: by playing the entire graphic sex tape in open court.

The 27-minute film played on a monitor just outside the jury box — the lights switched off and the blinds pulled across courtroom windows — as Assistant State’s Attorney Robert Heilengoetter read through sections of the indictment.

Neither Kelly nor the alleged victim testified at trial. But as the video played Thursday, Heilengoetter told jurors the man on the tape is Kelly and that he controlled the encounter.

Kelly sat across the room from jurors at the defense table in a gray pinstripe suit, his hands folded in front of him. As the sex tape played, he appeared tense, keeping his eyes on the monitor, his mouth drawn tight and his brow furrowed.

Over seven days presenting their case, prosecutors called 22 witnesses, including several childhood friends of the alleged victim and four of her relatives who identified her as the female on the video.

In two days, the Grammy winner’s lawyers called 12 witnesses. They included three relatives of the alleged victim who testified they did not recognize her as the female on the tape.

During the trial, Kelly endeavored to make a good impression on jurors, always standing straight and folding his hands in front of him whenever they entered the courtroom. Jurors, in turn, made a good impression on Judge Vincent Gaughan, who repeatedly praised their attentiveness. All appeared to take careful notes, even when testimony became highly technical.

This story is courtesy of CNN.COM

iNPLACENEWS

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Another Child-Molesting Cult in New Mexico

May 5, 2008

State officials in Clayton, New Mexico have been aware of and investigating an apocalyptic cult, Lord Our Righteousness Church, that supposedly has child-molesting as part of its practices, whether stated or not in its mission statement. Although this is NOT an FLDS branch, it is not unlike the cult in Texas that recently was raided and had hundreds of children taken. A man who goes by Michael Travesser ((his real name is Wayne Bent (the bearded man in the above photo)) says he was anointed the Messiah by God in 2000 had told cult members that he must sleep with seven virgins. Recently, a father, John Sayer, who has two female children in the cult, left the cult after 16 years in hopes of saving hs family. Unfortunately, after their departure, the two girls (ages 14 and 15) returned to the cult. Children, Youth and Families Department got involved after a tip and removed the Sayer’s youngest last week. Two girls and one boy, all under the age of 18, were taken in the state-intervention.

Sayer says that his daughters were asked to just “lay naked” with Micheal, but that anything could have happened. He had continually denied the requests of Michael to make his daughters 2 of the 7 virgins he would sleep with. In a posting on the website for the cult, Michael said that he never had sex with minors nor did the cult involve any kind of molestation, child or adult.

Sounds all too familar these days. Stay tuned.

iNPLACENEWS