U.S singer, R. Kelly, real name Robert Sylvester Kelly, has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for sexually abusing women, girls, and boys.
Judge Ann Donnelly handed down the term on Wednesday at the federal court in Brooklyn, New York City, nearly a year after the 55-year-old R&B artist was convicted by a New York jury of racketeering and sex trafficking crimes.
Judge Donnelly said the celebrity had used his celebrity status to sexually abuse children and women, forcing his victims to do unspeakable things and saddling some with sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).
“You taught them that love is enslavement and violence,” she said.
At the trial, victims had described how Kelly subjected them to perverse and sadistic whims when they were underage. Several said he would demand that they strictly obey rules such as needing his permission to eat or go to the bathroom, and writing “apology letters” that purported to absolve him of wrongdoing.
The court heard how the I Believe I Can Fly crooner used his influence to lure women and children into sexual abuse over two decades, and how he trafficked women between different US states, assisted by managers, security guards, and other members of his entourage.
The court also heard how he had illegally obtained paperwork to marry singer Aaliyah when she was 15 in 1994, seven years before the singer died in a plane crash. The certificate, leaked at the time, listed Aaliyah’s age as 18. The marriage was annulled months later.
Dressed in prison khakis and dark glasses, the fallen R&B star declined to make a statement of his own and did not react as the verdict was handed down.
It was gathered that the singer faces further legal action in August, when he goes on trial again, this time in Chicago on child sex images and obstruction charges.
He is also due to face sex abuse charges in courts in Illinois and Minnesota.