Three decades ago, R. Kelly, a 24-year-old Chicago R&B talent, was signed to his first big record company. He began having sex with a 15-year-old girl about the same time, as per her lawsuit.
The accusations piled up over the years. They became more heinous. They became public, and the 55-year-old musician was convicted of racketeering and sex trafficking offenses in New York in September 2021.
R. Kelly was sentenced to 30 years in jail for racketeering and sex trafficking on June 29, 2022. The judge, who handed down the punishment, stated that the Chicago-born artist had an “indifference to human suffering.”
The prison sentence marked the end of Mr. Kelly’s meteoric rise from chart-topping hitmaker to a villain whose musical legacy has been forever linked to his crimes.
A few women took the stand before his sentencing to face Kelly. The specifics of their statements are truly heartbreaking. Some said that R. Kelly crushed their spirits.
A woman recognized in court as Jane Doe Number 2 said in her testimony:
“I was a teenager. And you were a pedophile, ready to ruin another young lady’s life. You made me do things that broke me. I literally wished that I could die because of how you made me feel… What you did has left a permanent stain on my life that I will never be able to wash away. I am sure you never think about that.”
The federal trial in Brooklyn was ruled over by U.S. District Judge Ann M. Donnelly, who explained in court that Mr. Kelly had exploited underaged girls and women. “You taught them that love is enslavement and violence,” the judge remarked while detailing the scenarios he designed to repeatedly humiliate and abuse them.
“This case is not about sex. It is about violence and cruelty and control,” The Judge said. “You had a system in place that lured young people into your orbit… You took over their lives.”
Over the six-week trial in Brooklyn, Jurors heard how R. Kelly misused his position to entice women and children into sexual abuse for more than 20 years. He trafficked women between several US states with the help of his management team, security guards, and other crew members.
The 55-year-old R&B singer has been in jail since federal prosecutors in Chicago and New York charged him in July 2019. He is due to stand trial again in Chicago in August.