Sexual Predators in the Era of Trump

Long after the Trump presidency passes into the historical graveyard, it will be recalled for the scandals involving sexual abuse that occurred during his tenure.  These scandals bespeak the sexual pathology that long characterized the president himself.

A series of revelations about men who take advantage of underage girls has placed the issue of sexual predators at the center of public debate.  These include the financier Jeffrey Epstein and the entertainer R Kelly as well as the male sex tourists traveling overseas to have sex with trafficked young girls.

Lifetime is airing a six-part documentary series, Surviving R. Kelly, that tells the gruesome story of how the entertainer sexually abused African-American girls and women for decades.  Willa Paskin, reviewing the series for Slate, notes: “We chose to ignore his deeds, downplay them, or remain willfully ignorant of them so we could go on enjoying his music. …  We made a deal with the devil on the cheap — let us keep this song! — and had 16-year-old girls pay the exorbitant price.”

Kelly’s sexual exploitation of teenage girls were first revealed in the mid-90s by Jim DeRogatis, the Chicago Sun-Times pop-music critic.  He long covered Kelly musical career, but in 2002 he received two videos from an anonymous source that depicting the pop star engaging in sex with young girls. Working with his colleague Abdon Pallasch, over the years they interviewed innumerable people involved in the case,…

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