The Grammy-winning singer and pinnacle of ’90s pop glory, R. Kelly, was given a 30-year prison term on Wednesday for his years-long abuse of young girls, boys, and women.
US District Judge Ann Donnelly handed down the severe sentence without the “I believe I can fly” singer’s emotion after spending hours in Brooklyn federal court listening to testimonies from seven victims.
You soared in wickedness with the acquisition of a new victim, said one woman named Angela. Using your fame and position of power, you instructed and taught young boys and girls for your own sexual pleasure, the complainant claimed.
Kelly, 55, was found guilty on nine counts, including racketeering and violating the Mann Act, which bars the interstate transportation of women and children for “immoral reasons.”
The prosecution described him as a decades-long serial predator who used his prominence to take advantage of his victims in its plea for a sentence of more than 25 years.
Actually, the Eastern District of New York US Attorney’s Office wrote in a memo to the judge that “[Kelly’s] decades of crime appear to have been fuelled by narcissism and a belief that his musical talent absolved him of any need to confirm his conduct – no matter how predatory, harmful, humiliating, or abusive to others – to the structures of the law.”
The infamous R&B singer’s lawyers requested a light sentence of 10 years or less, arguing that he had experienced sexual abuse as a child and as an adult. The accused R&B star’s full name is Robert Kelly.
Jerhonda Pace, who said she started a relationship with the artist while she was underage, was one of the many witnesses at the trial. She testified in court that once, when he was upset with her, he slapped her and forced her to engage in oral sex with him.
Another witness claimed Kelly married Aaliyah in 1994 in violation of the law out of fear that she was pregnant and in the hope that their union would prevent her from testifying against him and protect him from prosecution for having sex with a child.
Aaliyah, who died in a 2001 plane crash, used a forged ID that Kelly’s entourage allegedly obtained by bribing a public official, according to testimony.
Lawyer Jennifer Bonjean, who recently represented disgraced actor and comedian Bill Cosby, told the judge Kelly was sexually abused by a family member and a former landlord and that should be considered “a mitigating factor” in the sentencing.