US singer, Robert Sylvester Kelly, known as R. Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for using his status to run a scheme to sexually abuse children and women.
In September, a jury in New York convicted the R&B artist of racketeering and sex trafficking crimes. He was also fined $100,000 (£82,525).
“These victims were disposable to you,” Judge Anna Donnelly told Kelly.
“You left in your wake a trail of broken lives … you taught them that love is enslavement and violence and humiliation.”
Several women issued victim impact statements before the sentence was rendered, all detailing the effects of Kelly’s pattern of sexual, emotional, and physical abuse. A woman identified as Angela, who testified at trial about how she was sexually assaulted by the singer when she was a teenager, looked directly at Kelly as she called him a “pied piper” who lured children with fame.
“With every addition of a new victim, you grew in wickedness,” Angela said, according to Daily Beast. “You used your fame and power to groom and coach underage boys and girls for your own sexual gratification.”
Lizette Martinez, who was in the Surviving R. Kelly docu-series, kept it simple in her statement to the court on Wednesday: “Robert, you destroyed so many people’s lives.”
During his sentencing hearing on Wednesday, prosecutors focused on the harrowing abuse revealed during the trial while recommending that Kelly be sentenced to more than 25 years in prison to “protect the public from further crimes.”
“He continued his crimes and avoided punishment for them for almost 30 years and must now be held to account,” federal prosecutors said in a 31-page sentencing memo.
“Indeed, the defendant’s decades of crime appear to have been fueled by narcissism and a belief that his musical talent absolved him of any need to conform his conduct—no matter how predatory, harmful, humiliating, or abusive to others—to the structures of the law.”
Judge Donnelly told Kelly he created “a trail of broken lives,” adding that “the most seasoned investigators will not forget the horrors your victims endured.”
“These crimes were calculated and carefully planned and regularly executed for almost 25 years,” she said. “You taught them that love is enslavement and violence.”
Kelly’s lawyers had argued he should get no more than 10 years in prison because he had a traumatic childhood “involving severe, prolonged childhood sexual abuse, poverty, and violence.”