After being found guilty of racketeering and sex trafficking, R. Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison.
One victim, a woman named Angela, said about Kelly, “With every addition of a new victim, you grew in wickedness,” adding, “you used your fame and power to groom and coach underage boys and girls for your own sexual gratification…. We are no longer the preyed-upon individuals we once were.”
Jennifer Bonjean, Kelly’s lawyer, had been seeking a sentence of fewer than 10 years. She argued that Kelly’s own history of being sexually abused as a child made him more than a “one-dimensional villain.”
“These crimes were calculated and carefully planned and regularly executed for almost 25 years,” Donnelly told Kelly, according to The New York Times. “You taught them that love is enslavement and violence.”
“He committed these crimes using his fame and stardom as both a shield, which prevented close scrutiny or condemnation of his actions, and a sword, which gave him access to wealth and a network of enablers to facilitate his crimes, and an adoring fan base from which to cull his victims,” prosecutors wrote in a sentencing letter.
Kelly declined to make a statement in court. He had previously released a statement, earlier this year, slamming his legal team for allegedly allowing multiple jurors who “may” have watched Surviving R. Kelly. The documentary series recounted the long history of abuse allegations that have been made against Kelly, including his marriage to an underage Aaliyah and the 2002 child pornography charges that led to a separate trial.
Even having been sentenced to 30 years in prison, the legal trouble isn’t over for Kelly. He still faces other state-level sexual misconduct charges in Minnesota and Illinois as well as federal child pornography and obstruction charges in Illinois.