R Kelly ‘did atrocious things to children’, victim says after sentencing
R&B singer R Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison following a conviction in federal court last year on sex trafficking and racketeering charges.
Appearing in court on Wednesday, the disgraced singer remained silent as he heard from some of his accusers who gave victim impact statements recounting their experiences with the singer.
Prosecutors had called for R Kelly to receive more than 25 years behind bars in order to “protect the public” from the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer. He was convicted on nine counts last September, which included one racketeering and eight counts of Mann Act violations.
Gloria Allred, who represented the three women who tested against R Kelly, told reporters that “no one can undo the harm that has been done to these victims,” which his lawyer’s denied.
The acting associate director off Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) who announced Kelly’s sentencing meanwhile called the singer a “prolific serial predator who utilized his wealth and fame to prey on the young and vulnerable by dangling promises of fame, fortune and stardom for his own sex bonus.”
What do R Kelly’s lawyers say?
R Kelly didn’t testify at his trial in September, but lawyers representing the disgraced R&B singer portrayed his accusers as “girlfriends” and “groupies” who went along with his sexual acts.
Those claims were dismissed by the court, which found the disgraced music artist guilty on multiple counts. A different team of lawyers representing Kelly had recently argued he should get no more than 10 years in prison. He was instead sentenced to 30 years on Wednesday.
His lawyers had blamed a traumatic childhood “involving severe, prolonged childhood sexual abuse, poverty, and violence” on the 55-year-old’s behavior more than two decades ago, when his crimes were said to have been committed.
Additional reporting by the Associated Press
Oliver O’Connell1 July 2022 11:00
ICYMI: What was R Kelly sentenced for?
The disgraced R&B singer had faced a string of allegations before being found guilty in September of racketeering and the sexual exploitation of a child and sex trafficking – among other charges.
Kelly, whose real name is Robert Sylvester Kelly, sat motionless as he was convicted of those charges last year. He again remained silent during his sentencing on Wednesday.
Oliver O’Connell1 July 2022 09:30
Opinion: R Kelly’s decades of abuse tell a story that never ends
“Wealth, power, racism and misogyny protected the R&B star, and we are a long way from dismantling the culture that enables predators and abusers”, writes Fiona Sturges in the opinion piece below:
Oliver O’ConnellJuly 1, 2022 07:30
Judge says ‘horrors’ were ‘no price too high’
“The horrors your victims endured,” said US District Judge Ann Donnelly during Wednesday’s sentencing. “No price was too high to pay for your happiness.”
According to trial testimony, R Kelly gave several of his victims were underage at the time of their encounters with the singer, who denied ordering his accusers to sign nondisclosure forms (otherwise known NDAs).
“Boys and girls” were allegedly subjected to threats and punishments if they broke what one referred to as “Rob’s rules”, prosecutors heard during his trail last year.
The R&B singer was also accused of shooting “shaming videos” of his victims.
Additional reporting by the Associated Press
Oliver O’Connell1 July 2022 05:30
Opinion: R Kelly’s prison sentence is the least men like him deserve
“Something is very, very rotten in the cult of male celebrity,” writes The Independent’s Victoria Richards in the opinion piece below.
“Because it doesn’t end with the abuse. This behavior has a ripple effect that lasts decades; not just for the victims themselves, but all those who see what men like this can get away with for so long – and assume they can do the same.”
Oliver O’Connell1 July 2022 04:30
Sentencing is product of MeToo movement
The sentencing of R Kelly to 30 years in prison is yet another triumph for women’s rights activists, and a product of the “MeToo” movement.
Sexual misconduct allegations against R Kelly were not made public until the emergence of the “MeToo” movement on Twitter in 2006, when several women came out to say they had been abused by high profile male figures.
The allegations against Kelly reached a tipping point in 2019 after the release of the documentary “Surviving R. Kelly”, after which he was charged by state judges for aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
Federal prosecutors then charged the R & B singer with sex trafficking and racketeering, and his trail took place last year, where he was found guilty.
Oliver O’ConnellJuly 1, 2022 03:30
Sentence is justice for Black women
R Kelly’s victims believed their stories were originally being ignored because they were Black women.
Speaking outside the court on Wednesday where he was sentenced, one unnamed survivor said: “There wasn’t a day in my life, up until this moment, that I actually believed that the judicial system would come through for Black and brown girls”.
Prosecutors had heard from women who told the court how the R&B singer forced them into “obedience” and other “horrors”.
“I hope this sentencing serves as its own testimony that it doesn’t matter how powerful, rich or famous your abuser may be or how small they make you feel — justice only hears the truth,” said US Attorney Breon Peace, as the Associated Press reports.
Oliver O’Connell1 July 2022 02:30
ICYMI: R Kelly sentenced to 30 years in prison for sex trafficking and racketeering conviction
R&B singer R Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for sex trafficking and racketteering convictions.
He was convicted in 2021.
Oliver O’ConnellJuly 1, 2022 01:30
‘R Kelly used his fame, fortune and enablers to prey on the young, the vulnerable and the voiceless,’ lawyer says
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, who announced R Kelly’s 30-year-prison term on Wednesday along with Steve K. Francis, Acting Executive Associate Director, Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) said that the singer “used his fame, fortune and enablers to prey on the young.”
Read his full statement while announcing the sentence here:
“R Kelly used his fame, fortune and enablers to prey on the young, the vulnerable and the voiceless for his own sexual gratification, while many turned a blind eye.
“Through his actions, Kelly exhibited a callous disregard for the devastation of his crimes had on his victims and has shown no remorse for his conduct. With today’s sentence he has finally and appropriately been held accountable for his decades of abuse, exploitation and degradation of teenagers and other vulnerable young people. We hope that today’s sentence brings some measure of comfort and closure to the victims, including those who bravely tested at trial, and serves as long-overdue recognition that their voices deserve to be heard and their lives matter.”
Oliver O’ConnellJuly 1, 2022 00:30
Victim said singer kept her as ‘sex slave’
Lizzette Martinez, who gave a victim impact statement during the sentencing hearing on Wednesday in which she said she was R Kelly’s “sex slave”, said she hoped R Kelly would get a harsher sentence.
“I personally don’t think it’s enough but I’m pleased with it,” she told reporters after the 55-year-old whose sentenced to 30 years.
Other women who were tested during the trial and sentencing hearing have not made their names public.
Gino Spocchia30 June 2022 23:30