The 55year old R&B singer R. Kelly has been sentenced to 30 years in prison on sex trafficking and racketeering convictions which started last year.
Why the sentence?
Evidence brought against him disclosed how he trafficked women, mostly underaged girls, between different US states with help from managers, security guards and others under his employment.
It was also reported that R. Kelly illegally obtained paperwork to marry singer Aaliyah when she was just 15 years old in 1994.
He was believed to have been a master manipulator who lured his victims to leave their family and friends behind and dedicate themselves to him completely.
A victim using the pseudonym “Angela” went on to detail his “deplorable and inexplicable” abuse during her statement, “Thirty years that he did this and 30 years is what he got’. I stand here very proud of my judicial system, very proud of my fellow survivors and very pleased with the outcome.
She says R. Kelly was branded “the pied piper of R&B”.
What did the United States Attorney have to say?
Breon Peace, United States Attorney for the Eastern District of New York who announced R. Kelly’s 30-year-prison term on Wednesday in his statement, said:
“R. Kelly used his fame, fortune and enablers to prey on the young, the vulnerable and the voiceless for his own sexual gratification, while many turned a blind eye.
“Through his actions, Kelly exhibited a callous disregard for the devastation his crimes had on his victims and has shown no remorse for his conduct. With today’s sentence, he has finally and appropriately been held accountable for his decades of abuse, exploitation and degradation of teenagers and other vulnerable young people. We hope that today’s sentence brings some measure of comfort and closure to the victims, including those who bravely testified at trial, and serves as long-overdue recognition that their voices deserve to be heard and their lives matter.”
R. Kelly was known to have had his own traumatic childhood, during which he was repeatedly sexually abused by a family member and a landlord.
This somehow explains what led to his behaviour, but it is definitely not an excuse.
Could the sentencing have been different if Kelly still had his money, fame and power?