‘You taught your victims that love is enslavement and violence’: Brooklyn judge sentences R&B star R Kelly, 55, to 30 years in prison for sex trafficking and racketeering over 25 years
Disgraced R&B star R Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in federal prison for sex trafficking and abusing young girls as the judge told him that he taught his victims that ‘love is enslavement and violence,’ and ‘the public needs to be protected.’
Kelly, 55, was convicted on sex-trafficking and racketeering charges last September following a nearly six-week trial that amplified accusations that had dogged the singer of the Grammy-winning hit ‘I Believe I Can Fly’ since the early 2000s.
Judge Ann M. Donnelly handed down Kelly’s sentence in Brooklyn Federal Court on Wednesday, despite the defense lawyers’ request for a sentence of 10 years or less. Prosecutors had asked for at least 25 years.
Donnelly told Kelly he created ‘a trail of broken lives,’ adding that ‘the most seasoned investigators will not forget the horrors your victims endured.’
‘These crimes were calculated and carefully planned and regularly executed for almost 25 years,’ she said. ‘You taught them that love is enslavement and violence.’
Kelly, who declined to speak at his sentencing, learned his fate after some of his accusers told the court, through tears and anger, that he had preyed on them and misled his fans. He was also was ordered to pay a $100,000 fine.
Kelly, born Robert Sylvester Kelly, has been detained at Metropolitan Detention Center in Brooklyn since his trial. It has not been revealed where Kelly would spend his sentence.
Breon S. Peace, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, said the sentence is a ‘significant’ outcome for all victims of R. Kelly, who he called ‘a predator.’
‘He continued committing his crimes for almost 30 years and avoided punishment — until today.’
‘These are the voices of mostly Black and brown women and children who were heard and believed. Justice was finally achieved. This is a victory for them, for justice, and victims of sexual assault. Victims must be heard, perpetrators must be held accountable, and women and children must be protected.’
He said he hopes the sentencing shows that ‘it doesn’t matter how rich [and] famous’ an abuser is to be brought to justice.
Lizzette Martinez, one of the victims who spoke earlier at the hearing, said she doesn’t think Kelly’s sentence is enough ‘but I’m pleased with it.’
Martinez, who described herself to the reporters as an ‘up-and-coming singer, a girl full of life’ before she met R Kelly and became ‘a sex slave.’