R. Kelly Didn't Show Up to Court for Civil Sex Abuse Case Because He Can't Read, Lawyers Confirm

Fans giving singer R. Kelly a rose, and cards, outside the Leighton Courthouse on March 22, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.
Fans giving singer R. Kelly a rose, and cards, outside the Leighton Courthouse on March 22, 2019 in Chicago, Illinois.
Photo: Nuccio DiNuzzo (Getty Images)

Robert “R.” Kelly’s illiteracy has been long reported, and the R&B artist has been transparent about such, particularly in that 19-minute song he asked people to suffer through.


According to the Chicago Sun-Times, his lawyers are citing said literacy struggles in connection with his failure to appropriately respond to a sex abuse complaint.

“Robert Sylvester Kelly has failed and refused to file an appearance or answer to the Complaint even though (he is) required to do so,” the complaint, filed by the plaintiff, Heather Williams’ attorneys, read. Williams, a minor at the time of the allegations at 16 years old, is also one of the listed plaintiffs in the ongoing criminal case against the self-proclaimed “Pied Piper.”


Kelly was served in early March and subsequent hearings were scheduled on April 23 and April 24 under presiding Cook County Judge Moira S. Johnson. Kelly failed to appear at either hearing.

“The defendant does not recall being served,” Kelly’s attorneys, Raed Shalabi and Zaid Abdallah, stated in a filing on April 26. “The Defendant suffers from a learning disability that adversely affects his ability to read, in essence he cannot.”

On Friday, April 24, R. Kelly reportedly wanted to fight the default judgement, claiming he was too “overwhelmed” while being held in incarceration in connection with his child support case.


Kelly’s publicist reportedly told the Sun-Times on April 24 that the civil lawsuit was not a priority for his client.


“We don’t care about the lawsuit,” he told them at the time. “The lawsuit means nothing to us.”

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.

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Ok, I can understand being born and raised into circumstances where one never learns how to read. But around the time you start raking in millions of dollars maybe you should invest in a tutor or some phonics or something. There is no reason why a grown-ass millionaire should be illiterate. Even people with dyslexia can figure it out with enough help and practice. Fuck, hire someone to read to you and keep your calendar. I don’t believe for a second that Robert accidentally missed a court date.

Also, don’t rape people. This is unconnected to the literacy thing.