R. Kelly will go to prison for 30 years for sex trafficking, sexual exploitation of a child, kidnapping and other sex-related crimes. In September, a jury found Kelly guilty on all nine charges: one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating the Mann Act. The singer, whose full name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, was first accused of having sex with underage girls in the ’90s but escaped punishment for almost 30 years.
Judge Ann M. Donnelly handed down the sentence on Wednesday after the court heard statements from Kelly’s victims, but, surprisingly, not from the multiplatinum singer. The judge told Kelly “the public has to be protected from behaviors like this,” according to the New York Times.
“These crimes were calculated and carefully planned and regularly executed for almost 25 years,” Judge Donnelly added. “You taught them that love is enslavement and violence.”
Federal prosecutors asked for a sentence of more than 25 years for Kelly, who faced life behind bars. The singer’s lawyers were seeking the minimum of 10 years and laid out their arguments for leniency citing his “highly chaotic” childhood home where he was sexually abused.
“Mr. Kelly rejects that’s he’s this monster,” said his defense lawyer Jennifer Bonjean. Kelly declined to make a statement due to pending litigation.
As seven women gave victim impact statements in court, the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer rarely looked up from the table where he sat.
“With every addition of a new victim, you grew in wickedness,” one woman told Kelly, per NYT. “You used your fame and power to groom and coach underage boys and girls for your own sexual gratification.”
Kelly reportedly glanced up at her once before quickly looking down. “I pray that God reaches your soul,” she declared.
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