R. Kelly is getting national attention right now due to his conviction in federal court recently, but his situation is not unique when it comes to sex crimes. Being a celebrity has allowed him to get away with even more horrific behavior than the average sexual predator.

This is because he has a team of people working for him that have enabled him and covered up his crimes.  However, he is not that different from the sexual predators living amongst us who sexually abuse people.

The long track record of R. Kelly’s predation, exposed in his court case, only goes as far back to when he was in his 20s.  Based on my experience in these types of cases, I am confident he began offending in his teens.



The majority of sexual offenders begin sexually abusing others, often children, when the offenders are in their teens. As many as 75% begin offending at that young age and continue to do so throughout their lifetime.

When I was a new sex crime detective in 2004, the research at that time indicated we could rehabilitate these young teenaged sexual offenders. Today, it is apparent, these teenaged offenders may not always be rehabilitated and they will offend throughout the remainder of their lifetime, especially when the opportunity arises.

Their offenses will affect the lives of their many victims and the victims always get a life sentence.



Most people have heard of grooming and understand this refers to behavior for which a sex offender will engage to facilitate sexual access to a child. The sex offender will give special attention to the child, such as buying them gifts, taking them to fun places, yet.

This grooming is the offender’s way of manipulating their victims so they can gain sexual access to the child. Most adults don’t even realize sexual predators will also spend a great deal of time grooming those around them, including the parents of their targeted victim and other adults.

This grooming of adults will help facilitate access to a child and lead to time alone with the child. This grooming behavior on both the child and the adults, allows the sex offender to maintain their secret and continue sexually abusing the child.

Grooming, fear, and other factors contribute to young victims keeping secrets about their victimization. According to Deborah Khoshaba, a Doctor of Psychology, “The sexual abuse of children in the U.S. and abroad occurs frequently and often goes unreported. An estimated one in four girls and one in six boys will be sexually assaulted before age 18. Fewer than ten percent of those victims will tell anyone what happened to them.” (SOURCE:



Often times when police, social workers, prosecutors, and other allied professionals don’t know what to do in these cases, they do nothing. This lack of holding the sex offenders accountable enables them to continue victimizing children and adults throughout their life.

In many of these cases, despite all the laws legislatures have enacted in many states to try to come down hard on these perpetrators, they still end up with probation or a minor jail sentence for a variety of reasons. This is partly due to our society’s view on sex crimes. You will never see a more powerful bias present itself than in a sex crime case – child or adult.



These implicit and very strong biases that people have, though often unaware, will affect everything they do during a sex crime case. These biases affect the victim’s family and their reaction to finding out about the abuse.  It also affects the response of law enforcement personnel, the social workers, prosecutors, judges, defense attorneys and juries.

The other obvious issue which negatively impacts victims and investigation’s outcomes is the lack of training and experience of law enforcement personnel and other allied professionals. Many officers and detectives have not attended sex crimes related training and may not have a supervisor who can lead them effectively and show them how to properly work these cases.

This often leads to inaction on the part of law enforcement. This lack of action leaves children in dangerous situations and allows sexual predators to continue abusing children.

When we look at the data, and we should, especially as investigators, we should realize we must endeavor to work harder for the victims. Just a few of the reported statistics published by Health Research Funding, an organization that provides health-based information and statistics, provide a frightening picture:

  • An adolescent sex offender who does not receive treatment will commit an estimated 380 sex crimes over their lifetime.
  • 1 out of every 2 child molestations that occurs are perpetrated by an adolescent male.
  • The average number of victims for a pedophile who prefers boys over girls is over 100.
  • It is not unusual for a sex offender to spend years developing a trustworthy reputation so that they can be near children and commit an offense that many just cannot believe.
  • Only about 30% of rapes are ever reported to police.
  • Research indicates that sex offenses are one of the most underreported crimes that happen.
  • Only 10% of all sex crimes actually result in a criminal conviction. SOURCE:



My recommendation, as with other types of issues facing today’s law enforcement officers, is to attend specialized training to help develop a foundation for proper investigations.  Learn from experienced investigators who can provide best practices, lessons learned and can unselfishly share the mistakes they made as a way of helping you learn.

This was the kind of class that I needed as a new detective since I made many mistakes because I didn’t have a good foundation, training nor someone to lead me in the right direction.

Now, I am committed to train and mentor new and inexperienced officers and detectives to avoid the same mistakes which hindered my investigations. Predators like R. Kelly can be identified and stopped in the early years of their lives and we can greatly minimize the amount of victims of these crimes.

Remember, when it comes to sex crimes, as in other investigations, the victim is the most important person, and we must be their protector and their advocate.


“Above all, it’s about going home at the end of the shift … “

We couldn’t agree more.



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