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Crime News

Who Is R. Kelly’s Brother Bruce, Why Is He In Jail And How Could He Defend The Singer’s Sexual 'Preferences?'

Bruce Kelly's appearance in the Lifetime docu-series wearing prison garb ignited a lot of conversation on social media.

By Ethan Harfenist

Allegations of sexual assault and inappropriate relationships with underage girls have hovered over R&B superstar R. Kelly throughout his decades-long career and now they're getting a fresh look in the explosive new docu-series “Surviving R. Kelly.”

But in addition to interviewing the women who have come forward to tell their stories, the six-part Lifetime series also featured interviews with Kelly’s two brothers — Bruce and Carey Kelly — the former of whom was in jail at the time of filming.

Bruce Kelly’s appearance had many viewers clamoring for a couple of reasons: Why exactly is the "Ignition" singer's older brother behind bars? And, perhaps even moreso, how could he offer up such a lame defense of his famous brother’s preference for younger "women?"

Bruce Kelly is currently incarcerated at Chicago’s Cook County jail for theft, burglary, possession of a controlled substance and an outstanding arrest warrant, Sam Randall, the communications director at the Cook County Sheriff's Office, confirmed to Oxygen.com on Friday. His bond is currently set at $100,000.

But these most recent charges represent just a portion of Bruce Kelly’s rap sheet. He has been arrested for criminal trespass, theft, retail theft and and a handful of other burglaries, according to court documents.

Bruce Kelly has a court date scheduled for later this month.

Bruce Kelly

In the documentary, Bruce and younger brother Carey spoke about what R. Kelly was like as a young man, and his experience growing up with them and their older sister, Theresa, in Chicago.

“Rob was shy and very timid. If you stared at him in his face he would cry,” Bruce said.

Carey said his brother had trouble reading and writing, and Bruce recalled a time he found him crying in the bathroom one day.

“I said, ‘Robert what’s wrong with you, man?’ he said. “He just broke down and started crying again, ‘I’m just tired of all these kids teasing me cuz I can't read.'”

But it wasn’t these tender portraits of his shy younger brother that had people talking about Bruce; it was his defense of R. Kelly’s sexual “preferences,” which, as the documentary explores, includes his secret alleged marriage to budding star Aaliyah when she was just 15.

"Robert likes younger women. You have people who have fetishes about different things. I like older women. Go figure, you know. But that’s just a preference. ... Everyone has preferences,” Bruce Kelly said during the episode. “So what is the big deal? What's the big issue with my brother?”

Those comments did not go over well with many on social media: “Preference is iced coffee over hot coffee. Not teen girls over women of age,” one woman tweeted in response.

Others were just as outraged:

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