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R. Kelly’s ex-wife, accusers react to his guilty verdict

Drea Kelly said the disgraced singer’s conviction is a “step forward.”

R. Kelly Getty

R. Kelly was found guilty yesterday (Sept. 27) on multiple charges accusing him of sexually abusing girls, women and boys for over two decades. On Tuesday (Sept. 28), the disgraced R&B singer’s ex-wife Drea Kelly said the conviction, which could carry a life prison sentence, is a step forward, but there’s still work to be done outside the courtroom in supporting victims of domestic violence.

“It’s great that we’ve taken this step forward, but it’s what happens outside of the courtroom that’s most important,” Drea said on “Good Morning Britain.” “That women are supported to even feel like they have the strength to come forward and tell their stories. If there’s still victim-shaming, victim-blaming and women being afraid to even speak their truth, we can never get a court system where justice can be served.”

“So, we have to start there first,” she continued. “When women, children and even men, because they can be victims of domestic violence, feel supported by society to come forward and tell their stories, that’s when justice can really be served.”

On Monday evening, after the guilty verdict was announced, singer Stephanie “Sparkle” Edwards, one of Kelly’s first accusers, spoke to The Cut.

“I didn’t think I would be emotional, but I am,” she told the outlet tearfully. “It’s just been a long time for me, dealing with this. On the one hand, I think I’m a little sad because Robert was my ex-mentor and what he did was just a punch to my chest. And I’m also relieved. Thank God they got it right this time.”

In 2001, Sparkle went to police after seeing a video of Kelly sexually assaulting and urinating on her then-14-year-old niece. Sparkle testified against Kelly at his 2008 child pornography trial, at which he was acquitted.

“At the first trial, nobody believed me. I hope all the girls, boys and women affected by him are also breathing a sigh of relief,” she said. “... In speaking out for my niece, I spoke out for a bunch of girls that I didn’t know... I took all of the backlash. I didn’t wait a day, a month, or ten years. I just wanted it to be known what this monster was doing. And I would do it all over again.”

Speaking with The Daily Beast, former radio DJ Kitti Jones, who accused Kelly of repeatedly abusing her during their two-year relationship, called the verdict a “small victory.”

“We got justice today,” Jones said. “I wouldn’t say I now have closure, because in the end none of us will get our time back. But this is a small victory.”

As reported by REVOLT, Kelly was convicted of one count of racketeering; 14 underlying acts of sexual exploitation of a child, bribery, kidnapping and sex trafficking charges; and eight counts of violations of the Mann Act. The 54-year-old’s sentencing is scheduled for May 4 and he faces a minimum of 10 years in prison.

See Drea’s TV interview below.

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