After Charlamagne Tha God dismissed a sexual assault lawsuit against him for lack of evidence in 2001, the rapper and radio host faces renewed legal assault from the now-barred rape plaintiff.
In 2001, 15-year-old Jessica Reid alleged that rapper and DJ Charlamagne Tha God, whose real name is Lenard Larry McKelvey, raped her during a party he threw in South Carolina. At the time, McKelvey pled guilty to a lesser charge of contributing to the crime of a minor, but denied any sexual assault took place. He was sentenced to three years probation.
While a rape investigation was conducted, which confirmed an assault had occurred, and police arrested McKelvey shortly thereafter, the case didn’t get very far. Reid became uncooperative, allegedly at the behest of her mother, who thought the teen would suffer more from the publicity. Prosecutors felt they could not convict McKelvey without Reid’s help.
“As the tools and technology of the judiciary have evolved, in cases of personal violence the state must have the witness who can prosecute it,” wrote Scarlett A. Wilson, attorney for South Carolina’s ninth circuit, in 2018. “All too often the key witness does not come forward in support of law enforcement.”
Reid has since attempted to reopen the case, first in 2018 and again in 2022, with limited success. With renewed assistance from a lawyer, Jessica Reid is following suit to open again their complaint in 2023.
Among the obstacles Reid faced was that in 2022 McKelvey and his attorney filed documents refuting that the DNA from the alleged 2001 incident matched his DNA, thereby proving his claimed innocence.
“(Reid) has insisted on widely disseminating her unsubstantiated claims, ignoring that in 2018 the South Carolina attorney denied her request to retry the case due to lack of evidence, while confirming that there was no basis for the Sexual assault charges against Charlamagne stood,” McKelvey’s filing reads.
“This is the same sexual assault allegation that was fully investigated and dismissed by South Carolina authorities more than 21 years ago,” wrote McKelvey’s attorney, Michael Weinsten. “At the time, my client voluntarily submitted her DNA and it was confirmed that her DNA was not found in her rape kit. It is also the same case that Ms. Reid sought to reopen in 2018, although the South Carolina Attorney General declined to reopen, on the grounds, among other things, that it was “unethical” to do so.”
Reid also filed a federal lawsuit against McKelvey in a New York court in 2022, charging him at the age of 22 with “willful, unlawful and criminal penile/vaginal intercourse with a fifteen-year-old girl.” the 2001 incident.