The claim: R. Kelly escaped from prison
Many social media users believe disgraced R&B singer R. Kelly escaped from a federal prison in Brooklyn days after receiving a 30-year prison sentence for sex trafficking and racketeering.
"BREAKING: It was reported earlier today that singer #rkelly has escaped his New York prison only a day after being sentenced for s*x trafficking," reads the caption of July 2 Instagram post. “The star allegedly first went missing early this morning, but it wasn’t until later in the afternoon that prison officials could confirm R Kelly’s escape via security footage of beneath prison grounds (sic)."
The post includes a mugshot of Kelly and a picture of a prison tunnel with the ABC News logo and the word "exclusive." The post garnered more than 50,000 likes in four days.
But there was no escape. There are no reports from ABC News or any other outlet or law enforcement official about Kelly escaping.
Kelly has since left the Brooklyn prison, but that was to move to a Chicago detention center on July 12, according to the Chicago Tribune.
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USA TODAY reached out to the online users who shared the claim for comment. The Twitter user who posted the claim told USA TODAY that he "personally never believed it was true." He has left the post online, however.
R. Kelly remains in prison
The singer, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, is currently an inmate at the Chicago Metropolitan Correctional Center, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons inmate database. The database lists "Robert Sylveste Kelly," a 55-year-old Black male.
The Brooklyn Detention Center did not release any official reports or comments on Kelly escaping. He was transferred to the Chicago jail on July 12 from Brooklyn's Metropolitan Detention Center ahead of his second federal trial on Aug.15.
Kelly was convicted in 2021 in New York on federal charges that he sexually abused young women and children in a systematic scheme that prosecutors say went on for years.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that R. Kelly escaped from prison. There are no credible reports that he escaped from a New York prison, from media outlets or law enforcement officials. Kelly was previously in custody at a federal detention center in Brooklyn, but he was moved to one in Chicago.
Our fact-check sources:
USA TODAY, June 29, R. Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison after NY sex trafficking conviction
Federal Bureau of Prisons, accessed July 29, Find an inmate
Federal Bureau of Prisons, accessed July 18, MCC Chicago
Chicago Tribune, July 13, R. Kelly back in Chicago’s federal jail ahead of trial next month
New York Times, June 29, R. Kelly will face a second federal trial, set for August.
United States Department of Justice, July 12 2019, Recording Artist R. Kelly Arrested on Federal Child Pornography and Obstruction Charges
ABC News, Aug. 24, 2015, Exclusive: This Is the Route Convicts Used to Escape From New York Prison
Associated Press, July 5, R. Kelly removed from suicide watch in reversal by prosecutors after his attorney called it 'cruel'
USA TODAY, Sept. 27, 2021, R. Kelly's sex trafficking sentence is 30 years in prison. Now what happens?
PolitiFact, July 18, No, R. Kelly didn’t escape prison
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: R. Kelly still incarcerated since sex trafficking sentence