Lawyers for R. Kelly say he didn't appear in court because he can't read

CHICAGO — Lawyers for R. Kelly say he did not appear in court for hearings in a civil abuse lawsuit because he can't read, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The publication reported that a judge ruled the singer in default in an April 23  hearing after he and his lawyer failed to respond to the lawsuit. The ruling means that Kelly failed to appear at the proceedings.

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"Robert Sylvester Kelly has failed and refused to file an appearance or answer to the Complaint even though (he is) required to do so," attorneys for the plaintiff wrote in their motion for default judgment in April, according to the Sun-Times.

Had Kelly and his attorney appeared at the April 23 hearing or another hearing April 24, Cook County Judge Moira S. Johnson could have vacated her default ruling.

“The defendant does not recall being served,” Kelly’s attorneys, Raed Shalabi and Zaid Abdallah, said in an April 26 filing,

. “The Defendant suffers from a learning disability that adversely affects his ability to read, in essence he cannot.”

Singer R. Kelly appears in court for a hearing to request that he be allowed to travel to Dubai at the Leighton Criminal Court Building in Chicago. Kelly's lawyers say he didn't attend separate hearing in a sex abuse case because he can't read.

The plaintiff is one of four victims listed in a criminal complaint against Kelly. In her lawsuit, filed in February, the woman alleged she met Kelly while walking down the street in Chicago on May 26, 1998. According to the suit, Kelly pulled his car over when he saw her and spoke to her. A Kelly associate met with the plaintiff and her family at a restaurant later that day and gave the plaintiff Kelly’s number so the singer could invite the woman to his studio and be in a music video, the complaint says.

"Commencing in or about June 1998 and thereafter until she was of the age of majority, defendant, Robert Sylvester Kelly, sexually abused plaintiff," the suit says, according to the Sun-Times. "Specifically, defendant, Robert Sylvester Kelly, had sexual intercourse with the minor plaintiff. The defendant also engaged in oral sex with the minor plaintiff. During these repeated incidents, defendant represented to the minor plaintiff that this behavior was appropriate."

When the Sun-Times contacted Kelly's publicist about the default judgment April 24, Darrell Johnson said, "We don't care about the lawsuit. The lawsuit means nothing to us."