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R. Kelly Has Been Sentenced to 30 Years in Prison for Sex Trafficking

R. Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison after he was found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking charges last year. After being indicted in July 2019 and pleading not guilty the following year, Kelly’s trial began in August 2021. Nine women and two men alleged that the singer – real name Robert Sylvester Kelly – had perpetrated sexual, physical and emotional abuse.

Some 45 witnesses testified against Kelly during the three-week trial. The 55-year-old R&B singer was convicted by a federal jury in September 2021, having been found guilty of all charges.

Kelly’s Crimes Were “Calculated and Carefully Planned”

R Kelly

R. Kelly leaves a Chicago courthouse following a status hearing in 2019. Image: Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty

As the New York Times reports, seven women delivered impact statements prior to Kelly’s sentencing, each of whom described the impact Kelly’s abuse had had on their lives, and the trauma they continued to experience as a result.

“I was a teenager. And you were a pedophile, ready to ruin another young lady’s life,” one woman, identified only as Jane Doe No. 2, said. “You made me do things that broke me. I literally wished that I could die because of how you made me feel.”

She continued: “I don’t know if I’ll ever be whole. What you did has left a permanent stain on my life that I will never be able to wash away. I’m sure you never think about that.”

Another of Kelly’s victims described how Kelly had, “with every addition of a new victim”, grown in “wickedness, cockiness, diminishing any form of humanity or self-awareness.”

Kelly’s attorney, Jennifer Bonjean, had argued Kelly be given a sentence of less than 10 years, acknowledging the singer’s own history of sexual abuse as a child. When delivering her sentencing, however, US District Judge Ann M. Donnelly said that Kelly’s crimes had been “calculated and carefully planned” over almost two and a half decades. “This case is not about sex. It’s about violence and cruelty and control.”

Kelly declined to give a statement in court, as litigation is still pending against him. Kelly will stand trial in Chicago this August in a separate case, where he faces federal child pornography and obstruction of justice charges. He has pleaded not guilty.

If you need assistance, 1800 RESPECT – the National Sexual Assault, Domestic and Family Violence Counselling Service — can be reached on 1800 737 732. For help or information regarding mental health, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 224 636. 

Further Reading

R. Kelly Faces Decades In Prison After Being Found Guilty On All Charges

R. Kelly Denied Bond After Pleading Not Guilty To Sex Crimes

R. Kelly Arrested Over Sex Trafficking and Child Pornography Charges

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