One of the more popular sentiments being expressed in the wake of R. Kelly‘s guilty verdict following his sex trafficking trial has been how Black women would not rest until the disgraced singer was brought to justice.
After all, his victims were primarily Black girls and women, a truth that likely made it all the more personal to the Black women who led the charge to get Kelly investigated, arrested, charged and successfully prosecuted.
And while acting U.S. Attorney Jacquelyn M. Kasulis may have finished the job on Monday when a jury found Kelly guilty of racketeering and eight counts of an anti-sex trafficking law, one Black woman back in Chicago certainly deserves at least a healthy portion of the credit for starting what became the legal domino effect that ended with a conviction more than two years later.
Kasulis knew as much, too, since the office of Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx was among the first people the acting U.S. attorney thanked following the guilty verdict.
To refresh memories, it was Foxx’s office that charged Kelly with multiple counts of sex abuse in 2019.
But not before the airing of “Surviving R. Kelly,” a docuseries that debuted early that year and chronicled accounts from the then-alleged victims of the man who had been acquitted of similar charges involving an underage girl more than a decade earlier.
It was “Surviving R. Kelly” that prompted Foxx, the first Black woman to be Cook County’s prosecutor, to begin asking for victims to come forward following the 2019 revelation of a video that reportedly shows R. Kelly having sex with an underaged girl. Foxx set up a hotline for victims to contact her office.
“I’m here today to encourage victims of sexual assault or domestic violence related to these allegations to please get in touch with our office,” Foxx said at the time. “In order to have an investigation … we have to have victims and witnesses who are willing to come forth with whatever information that they have.”
Foxx explained her motive during an interview with the New York Times.
“This is about, for me, opening the doors,” Foxx told the Times at the time. “We should allow people to have the opportunity to tell their stories and then vet them.”
Foxx, who is herself a survivor of sexual assault, said she knew it was not easy for the women and girls to come forward.
Foxx added: “I hope that the public has seen that there is a real need to have conversations about sexual abuse and sexual assault. Particularly with young victims.”
One week later, Kelly was hit with 10 counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Cook County.
After several accusers had previously come forward, two more women also did the same on the day before Foxx’s office charged Kelly.
Foxx, who grew up in public housing in Chicago, has openly said that she can relate to Kelly’s victims in part because she, herself, was sexually assaulted as a young girl.
“As someone who came from a neighborhood like I did to be able to step into this moment right now where we can transform our criminal justice system and have the support of all of you, you have no idea how much that means,” she once told the Chicago Tribune.
R. Kelly Guilty Verdict: The Critical Role Kim Foxx Played In Securing Justice For Black Women And Girls was originally published on newsone.com