Today (June 29), news broke that famed R&B singer R. Kelly will likely live out the rest of his life behind bars. U.S. District Judge Ann Donnelly sentenced him to 30 years in prison. “Although sex was certainly a weapon that you used, this is not a case about sex. It’s a case about violence, cruelty and control,” she said in court.
Reports say the “I Believe I Can Fly” singer did not speak during his sentencing. The court did hear testimony from an unnamed victim. “You made me do things that broke my spirit. I literally wished I would die because of how low you made me feel,” the person said. The Grammy-winning, multi-platinum-selling singer and songwriter is accused of using his fame and status to lure and sexually abuse young victims.
In addition to his sentence, Judge Donnelly ordered Kelly to pay a $100,000 fine. The “Trapped In the Closet” artist has been dealing with accusations surrounding this case for decades. Last year, Kelly was convicted of sex trafficking and racketeering on a federal level. Court records showed he sexually abused girls, women and boys for over 20 years. “Of all the predators I have pursued, however, Mr. Kelly is the worst. R. Kelly thought he could get away with this, but he didn’t. I am very proud of my clients who agreed to testify in this case,” attorney Gloria Allred said at the time.
According to AP News, in a court filing from earlier this month, prosecutors claimed Kelly used “money and popularity” to “prey upon children and young women for his own sexual gratification.” In 2019, the multi-part documentary “Surviving R. Kelly” aired. The docu-series explored how the award-winning singer kept his status as a musical genius despite rumors of child pornography, rape and other serious offenses since the 1990s. One of Kelly’s most famous victims was the late R&B singer Aaliyah. The series also revealed how “Yes Men” culture helped to keep Kelly free for decades.