R. Kelly skips court, loses sex abuse lawsuit by default

R. Kelly on stage

R. Kelly had one job to do, show up to court. But he failed.

Earlier this week Kelly failed to appear before a Chicago judge to answer a civil lawsuit brought against him by Heather Williams alleging the singer sexually abused her when she was a teen in the 90s. As a result the judge decided in favor of Williams by default.

Williams filed her lawsuit in February, around the time Kelly was arrested and charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse of four women, including Williams. He was subsequently jailed for unpaid child support.

Kelly, who previously admitted to being illiterate, was served with court papers while in lockup. His lawyer, Brian Nix, is arguing Kelly didn’t understand the paperwork given to him, hoping the judge will have a forgiving nature. It’s unlikely the decision would be reversed, but it may play a part in the amount the judge awards Williams in damages.

In a comment to TMZ, Nix said, “R. Kelly was served while incarcerated on the child support case and he was overwhelmed by the experience of being in jail. [Being overwhelmed] coupled with Mr. Kelly not being cognizant of what the motion fully meant led to him missing the hearing. I had no idea he had been served.” 

The civil lawsuit claimed Williams was approached by Kelly while walking down a Chicago street when she was 16. A year-long sexual relationship began later that day. Allegations in the criminal case closely mirror those in the civil case.

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