R. Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for sex trafficking women and minors.
In September 2021, the 'I Believe I Can Fly' singer was found guilty of one count of racketeering and eight counts of sex trafficking.
The 55-year-old - full name Robert Sylvester Kelly - faced a minimum of 10 years and a maximum sentence of life in prison.
His legal team argued he should only serve 10 years due to the fact that he experienced 'prolonged childhood sexual abuse, poverty, and violence'.
However, jurors at the US District Court in New York have today (29 June) sentenced him to three decades behind bars for his crimes.
Various victim impact statements were given during today's hearing from women whose identities are only stated as 'Jane Doe' to protect their privacy.
Addressing Kelly directly, Jane Doe 1 said: "The pied piper of R&B, both in music and in technique and in approach.
"Success and love... you presented these glittering gems as if they were gold.
"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.
"You were doing, saying and encouraging despicable things that no one should be doing. We reclaim our names from beneath the shadows of your afflicted trauma."
Jane Doe 2 told him: "You are an abuser, you are shameless, you are disgusting."
When Judge Ann M. Donnelly sentenced Kelly, she said 'the public has to be protected from behaviours like this'.
During the six-week federal trial at the end of last year, those who claimed to have been physically and sexually abused by Kelly came forward to give testimonies.
The trial revealed how the singer had sexually abused women and children within a scheme he was found to be the ringleader of, which was also explored in the 2019 documentary series Surviving R. Kelly.
The trafficking was revealed to have taken place over two decades, with Kelly having been assisted by entourage members, security guards and managers.
"[Kelly had] a network of people at his disposal to target girls, boys and young women for his own sexual gratification," prosecutors argued.
Assistant US attorney Nadia Shihata added: "The music, the fame and the celebrity meant he could do whatever he wanted."
Kelly's marriage to singer Aaliyah in 1994 when she was just 15 years old also came under scrutiny during the trial. The marriage certificate claimed Aaliyah had been 18.
Prosecutors alleged a fake ID had been created by a local official who had been bribed by a member of Kelly's team.
Although Kelly's legal team argued for the singer to be sentenced to 10 years or less, prosecutors urged for at least 25 years because of the 55-year-old's apparent lack of guilt and 'callous disregard' for his victims.
They said: "Indeed, the defendant's decades of crime appear to have been fuelled by narcissism and a belief that his musical talent absolved him of any need to conform his conduct - no matter how predatory, harmful, humiliating or abusive to others - to the strictures of the law."
In August, he faces charges related to child sex images and obstruction in Chicago. The singer also faces sex abuse charges in Minnesota and Illinois.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, you can contact Victim Support free on 08 08 16 89 111 available 24/7, every day of the year, including Christmas.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child, contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000, 8am–10pm Monday to Friday, 9am–6pm weekends. If you are a child seeking advice and support, call Childline for free on 0800 1111
Featured Image Credit: Getty Images
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