R Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison – as survivors confront him over ‘despicable’ abuse | Ents & Arts News

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R Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in prison for using his fame to sexually abuse young fans – after coming face to face with some of his victims as they confronted him in court.

The disgraced singer was forced to listen to survivors condemn his “despicable” actions and describe him as “the Pied Piper of R&B” before the judge announced his lengthy prison sentence.

Kelly promised to mentor and help them in the music industry, but continued to subject them to degrading and systemic abuse.

He Was found guilty of racketeering and trafficking following a high-profile trial in New York in September 2021, which came after years of accusations throughout his career.

R. Kelly stands with his attorneys Jennifer Bonjean and Ashley Cohen during his federal sex trafficking sentencing hearing at the Brooklyn Federal Courthouse in Brooklyn, New York, U.S., June 29, 2022 in this sketch from the courtroom.  REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg
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During her sentencing by U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly on Wednesday, the court heard impact statements from seven women, presented anonymously as “Jane Does,” who said the singer had a “god complex” and used ” fame and power” to seduce his victims.

Warning: This article contains graphic content and details about sexual abuse

Dressed in a black mask and gray prison uniform, detained since 2019, the 55-year-old stared straight ahead as the emotional statements were read. He did not go to court himself.

“The Pied Piper of R&B, both in music, in technique and in approach,” said a woman using the pseudonym Angela, addressing him in the courtroom. “Success and love…you presented these sparkling gems as if they were gold.

“With each addition of a new victim, you grew in meanness, arrogance, diminishing any form of humanity or self-awareness, which quickly became the breeding ground for your god complex.

“You were doing, saying and encouraging despicable things no one should do. We reclaim our names under the shadow of your afflicted trauma.”

Another woman told Kelly: “You are an aggressor, you are shameless, you are disgusting.”

What happened during the trial?

Several accusers and witnesses – men and women – had testified against the singer during his trial, with the court hearing how he subjected his victims to vicious and sadistic abuse when they were underage.

Once one of the world’s biggest music stars, a three-time Grammy winner whose chart-topping hits include I Believe I Can Fly, Bump ‘N’ Grind and Ignition, the horror of some of his crimes was finally revealed.

Survivors' attorney Gloria Allred arrives in federal court, Wednesday, June 29, 2022, in the Brooklyn borough of New York.  R&B star R. Kelly faces a quarter century or more in prison when he is convicted Wednesday in a federal sex trafficking case in New York.  (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
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Gloria Allred, pictured in court ahead of the hearing, represents some of the victims

Real name Robert Sylvester Kelly, he had denied all charges, with his lawyers calling his accusers “disgruntled groupies” and saying they were lying, arguing that any “relationship” was consensual.

However, the jury believed the survivors. Kelly was found guilty of all nine counts brought against him – one count of racketeering and eight counts of violating a law that prohibits transporting people across state lines for prostitution. .

Among multiple sordid allegations, jurors heard testimony about a fraudulent marriage scheme designed to protect Kelly after he feared he impregnated R&B artist Aaliyah in 1994 when she was just 15.

R. Kelly sits as the jury foreman reads the guilty verdict in Kelly's sexual abuse trial in the Federal District Court of Brooklyn in a courtroom sketch in New York, United States, on 27 September 2021. REUTERS/Jane Rosenberg TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Prosecutors had said ahead of the sentencing hearing that he was expected to spend more than 25 years in prison, saying he showed “callous disregard” for his victims and showed no remorse.

But Kelly’s lawyers have argued he deserves no more than 10 years, the mandatory minimum sentence, saying his past as an abused child may have led to his adult ‘hypersexuality’ – and claiming he no longer exhibits risk to the public.

They said he planned to appeal the verdict.

Read more:
The main allegations heard during the trial
R Kelly: A Timeline of Abuse
Everyone knew the claims – why did it take 30 years to get justice?

One of the victims, whom Kelly sexually assaulted when she was 17 – which led to depression and post-traumatic stress disorder – told the singer that being assaulted himself was not a apologize for his crimes.

“Robert, you have destroyed the lives of so many people,” she said.

Another told the court: “As a teenager I didn’t know how to say no to R Kelly when he asked me to give him a blowjob.

She then stopped and addressed Kelly: “Do you remember that?”

Kelly is among the most high-profile people convicted of sexual misconduct following the rise of the #MeToo movement.

He also faces a second trial in Chicago in August that could result in additional convictions and jail time. In this case, he is charged with possession of child pornography and obstruction of justice.

“Justice hears only the truth”

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Victims of R Kelly speak out after his sentencing

US Attorney Breon Peace described the sentencing as “a momentous outcome for all of R Kelly’s victims, and especially for the survivors who so bravely testified to the horrific and sadistic abuse they endured.”

“R Kelly is a predator and as a result of our prosecution, he will serve significant prison time for his crimes,” he said in a statement.

He added that he hopes the sentencing “serves as his own testimony that no matter how powerful, wealthy or famous your attacker is, or how small he makes you feel – justice only hears the truth. “.

Lizzette Martinez, one of the accusers who spoke in court, told reporters after the hearing: “I never thought I would be here to see him held accountable for the atrocities he has done. to children”.

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