R. Kelly’s time among us is over.
The 55-year-old sexual predator and disgraced ’90s R&B singer was sentenced to 30 years and a $100,000 fine Wednesday on sexual trafficking charges. Kelly used his fame to systematically groom and sexually abuse not only women, but children—girls and boys—over the course of decades, according to the Associated Press.
Earlier this month, federal prosecutors of the Eastern District of New York begged the judge to lock Kelly up for 25 years or more, in part because of his sexual history with minors, his possession of child pornography and his tendency towards “physical and psychological” abuse of women. They got what they asked for.
“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,” said Breon Peace, US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, according to the New York Post.
“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.”
Kelly showed no emotion during the proceedings, not even when survivors spoke directly to him about the harm he’d caused them.
“You made me do things that broke my spirit. I literally wished I would die because of how low you made me feel,” one unnamed survivor told Kelly, who kept his hands folded and his eyes downcast, AP reports.
“Do you remember that?” she asked
U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly issued the sentence after listening to statements from seven victims over several hours in Brooklyn federal court.
“These victims were disposable to you and you taught them that love is enslavement and violence and humiliation,” said Judge Donnelly, upon sentencing Kelly, per the Post.
“This case is not about sex. It’s about violence and cruelty and control,” Donnelly said. “These crimes were calculated and carefully planned and regularly executed for almost 25 years.”
Another survivor, named Angela, said, “With every addition of a new victim, you grew in wickedness,” the New York Post reports. “You used your fame and power to groom and coach underage boys and girls for your own sexual gratification.” Later, she added that Kelly “took pleasure in humiliating me” and told him, “You are shameless, you are disgusting and you are self-serving.”
The proceedings seemed to bring a sense of closure and empowerment to those Kelly preyed upon.
”Today we reclaim our names. We are no longer the preyed-upon individuals we once were,” Angela continued. At this, Kelly briefly looked up at her.
Kelly’s attorney said he plans to appeal. “He has regrets,” she told reporters after Wednesday’s hearing. “He is sad.”
Kelly’s fiancé, Joycelyn Savage, was one of those who submitted a letter of support to the judge. “The Robert I know is very sweet, gentle, and kind. At the end of the day, he has always made sure that I’m taken care of, and any other women he was with as well,” according to the Post.
Prosecutors won a guilty conviction against Kelly last September when jury found him guilty on all nine counts, including racketeering, sex crimes, human trafficking, obstruction of justice, and kidnapping.
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