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Ciara O'Rourke
By Ciara O'Rourke July 18, 2022

No, R. Kelly didn’t escape prison

If Your Time is short

  • R. Kelly didn’t escape prison. He was recently moved from a federal detention facility in New York to one in Chicago where he awaits another criminal trial. 

At the end of June, singer R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison after he was convicted in New York of federal racketeering and sex trafficking charges. At the time, he was being held in a Brooklyn federal detention center. But an Instagram post a couple of weeks later claimed that he had escaped custody. 

"BREAKING: R KELLY reportedly MISSING after PRISON SECURITY verify he’s ESCAPED beneath FACILITY," the July 14 post said. It featured an image of Kelly and a picture of a tunnel with the ABC News logo and the word "exclusive." 

The post elaborated that he had escaped "his New York prison only a week after being sentenced." 

This post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

R. Kelly did leave the Brooklyn detention center, but he didn’t break out. 

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The Chicago Tribune reported that Kelly, 55, was moved from Brooklyn to the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Chicago on July 12 in advance of another criminal trial. That one is set to start Aug. 15 and involves charges that Kelly conspired with two former associates to rig a 2008 child pornography case against him in Cook County, Illinois. (The Atlantic detailed that indictment, as well as the one from New York, in a 2019 story here.) 

Kelly’s full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly and we searched for it among current federal inmates on July 18. 

We found "Robert Sylveste Kelly," a Black male age 55, who was in custody at the Metropolitan Correctional Center.

We previously debunked a claim in 2021 that a photo showed Kelly being released from prison. The photo was an old one and showed him leaving jail in 2019 after paying child support he owed his ex-wife. He was still in custody then, and he’s still in custody now. 

We rate this post False.


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No, R. Kelly didn’t escape prison

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