Rapper Robert Sylvester Kelly, 55, has been sentenced to a 30 year prison sentence for charges of sex trafficking and federal racketeering, after a jury of seven men and five women found the artist guilty on 9 counts in September 2021. Kelly was facing a potential prison term of 10 years to life
Kelly’s attorneys, who argued for the singer to be sentenced to less than 10 years, claimed Kelly himself was the victim of sexual abuse when he was just 6 and 7 years old by his sister and landlord.
New York federal Judge Ann M. Donnelly, who also presided over the 2021 in Brooklyn, New York, sentenced Kelly to 30 years in jail on Wednesday following damaging testimony from R. Kelly’s victims.
Speaking directly to Kelly, Judge Donnelly said, “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.”
Acknowledging the sexual assault claims made by Kelly’s defense team, Donnelly said, “You are a person who had great advantages — worldwide fame and celebrity, untold money.”
“You took advantage of their hopes and dreams, holding teenagers in your house trapped. You were at the top of your organization and you raped and beat them, separated them from their families and forced them to do unspeakable things,” Judge Donnelly added.
Kelly was also convicted of violating the Mann Act. Initially passed in 1910 for transporting a girl or woman across state lines for prostitution, debauchery or any other “immoral purpose”, the Mann act was amended in 1986 to include the non-commercial sexual exploitation of minors.
Multiple victims, who were underage girls and boys at the time, testified that Kelley lured them in from his concert audiences to sexually abuse them, or promised to help them in their musical careers in exchange for sex.
During the sentencing R. Kelly did not to address the court himself.
R. Kelly is still facing child pornography and obstruction of justice charges in Illinois and Minnesota.