R. Kelly has received a sentence of 30 years in prison in the high-profile sex trafficking case, months after he was convicted on all nine counts.
US District Judge Ann Donnelly sentenced Kelly in Brooklyn following statements from several of his victims, who stated they had hardly any will to live during the time they spent under Kelly’s control.
“You were a person who had great advantages — worldwide fame and celebrity and untold money,” Donnelly said. “You took advantage of their hopes and dreams, holding teenagers in your house trapped. You were at the top of your organization, and you raped and beat them, separated them from their families and forced them to do unspeakable things.”
The 55-year-old Kelly was convicted back in September of racketeering and violating the Mann Act, which bans the transportation of people across state lines “for any immoral purpose.”
The trial centered on the allegations of six people. Prosecutors said Kelly was a serial sexual predator, abusing young women and underage girls and boys for over two decades. Kelly’s defense attorneys tried to portray his accusers as “groupies” seeking to exploit his fame and take advantage of the #MeToo movement. Kelly did not take the stand in his own defense and pleaded not guilty to all charges.
US Attorney Breon Peace said the convictions and sentence were a watershed moment for women of color, who often have not had their allegations taken seriously.
“These are the voices of mostly Black and brown women and children that were heard and believed and for whom justice was finally achieved,” said Peace.
Surviving R. Kelly, a 2019 documentary series released by Lifetime, featured testimony from several of Kelly’s accusers. The series raised awareness of the allegations and intensified requests for him to face legal consequences.
Kelly is also scheduled to stand trial in Chicago in August on federal child pornography and obstruction of justice charges. He was acquitted of child pornography charges back in 2008.