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R. Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison after being found guilty in his sex trafficking trial.
The disgraced R&B singer appeared at US District Court in New York today, 29 June, after several delays to the hearing. He had been facing a minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum of life in prison.
Sentencing Kelly, Judge Ann Donnelly said he had used his 'minions' to 'lure young fans into your orbit'.
Seven women were presented anonymously to give victim impact statements.
One of the women, who used the pseudonym Angela, told the court: "With every addition of a new victim you grew in wickedness, cockiness, diminishing any form of humanity or self-awareness, which soon became the breeding ground for your God-like complex.
“We reclaim our names from beneath the shadows of your afflicted trauma."
Another told Kelly: "You are an abuser, you are shameless, you are disgusting."
After decades of rumours and allegations about sexual misconduct with minors, R. Kelly – real name Robert Sylvester Kelly – finally went to trial last year.
Despite pleading not guilty, on 27 September, 2021, jurors in Brooklyn Federal Court found him guilty of nine sex crimes, including racketeering and sex trafficking.
R. Kelly found guilty on ALL COUNTS— US Attorney EDNY (@EDNYnews) September 27, 2021
Several of the 55-year-old singer’s accusers testified in detail during the trial without using their real names to protect their privacy and safety, alleging that he subjected them to perverse and sadistic behaviours when they were underage.
Alongside the testimonies, jurors were shown homemade videos of Kelly engaging in sexual acts that prosecutors said were not consensual.
Defence attorney Deveraux Cannick told jurors that his accusers were ‘groupies’, adding: “He gave them a lavish lifestyle. That’s not what a predator is supposed to do.”
His team also requested that he receive a lighter sentence due to the fact he ‘experienced a traumatic childhood involving severe, prolonged childhood sexual abuse, poverty, and violence’.
However, assistant US Attorney Maria Cruz Melendez said Kelly was a serial abuser who ‘maintained control over these victims using every trick in the predator handbook’.
Assistant US attorney Nadia Shihata said Kelly believed ‘the music, the fame and the celebrity meant he could do whatever he wanted', adding that the alleged victims ‘aren't groupies or gold diggers, they're human beings'.
Accusations of Kelly’s sexual misconduct with young adults and minors that have circulated since his heyday in the 90s were once again placed under the spotlight and explored in depth in the 2019 documentary Surviving R. Kelly.
As well as highlighting his illegal marriage to the late singer Aaliyah in 1994, when she was just 15 years old and Kelly was 27, the series gave a voice to the accusers while also indicting the people who are alleged to have enabled his abuse.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact the Rape Crisis England and Wales helpline on 0808 802 9999 between 12pm–2.30pm and 7pm– 9.30pm every day. Alternatively, you can contact Victim Support free on 08 08 16 89 111 available 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas
Male Survivors Partnership is available to support adult male survivors of sexual abuse and rape. You can contact the organisation on their website or on their free helpline 0808 800 5005, open 9am–5pm Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays; 8am–8pm Tuesdays and Thursdays; 10am–2pm Saturdays
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