After Charlamagne Tha God sought to have a 2001 sexual assault lawsuit against him tossed for lack of evidence, the rapper and radio personality faces renewed legal attack from the now lawyered-up rape accuser.
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 pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of contributing to the delinquency of a minor but denied any sexual assault took place. He was sentenced to three years probation.
While a rape kit was conducted that confirmed an assault had taken place, and police arrested McKelvey shortly thereafter, the case didn’t go very far. Reid became uncooperative, allegedly at her mother’s behest, who thought the teenager would suffer more with public attention. The prosecution felt they could not convict McKelvey without Reid’s assistance.
“While the tools and technology of justice have evolved, in cases involving personal violence, the State must have the witness to prosecute,” wrote South Carolina Ninth Circuit Solicitor Scarlett A. Wilson in 2018. “Too often, the key witness will not come forward in support of criminal prosecution.”
Reid has since attempted to reopen the case with limited success, first in 2018 and again in 2022. With renewed lawyer backing, Jessica Reid is moving to reopen her complaint in 2023.
Among the roadblocks Reid has faced, McKelvey and his attorney filed documents in 2022 refuting that the DNA from the alleged 2001 incident matched his DNA, thus proving his maintained innocence.
“(Reid) has persisted in broadly disseminating her unsubstantiated claims, ignoring that the South Carolina Solicitor in 2018 declined her request to reopen the case due to a lack of evidence while confirming that no basis existed to bring sexual assault charges against Charlamagne,” McKelvey’s filing reads.
“This is the same sexual assault claim that was fully investigated and dismissed by authorities in South Carolina more than 21 years ago,” wrote McKelvey’s attorney Michael Weinsten. “At that time, my client voluntarily submitted his DNA, and it was confirmed his DNA was not found in her rape kit. It is also the same matter that Ms. Reid tried to reopen in 2018 that the South Carolina Solicitor General declined to reopen, suggesting, among other things, it was ‘not ethical’ to do so.”
Reid also filed a federal lawsuit against McKelvey in a New York court in 2022, accusing him of “willfully, unlawfully, and feloniously (engaging) in penile/vaginal intercourse with a fifteen-year-old female child” when he was 22, in the 2001 incident.